Why Did Abortion See Its Biggest Decrease in 10 Years?

LifeNews reports:

“Abortion fell five percent nationwide in 2009, according to new information from the Centers for Disease Control, which tracks abortion figures nationwide.”

The media has been quick to claim the reason for the decrease in the abortion rate is more widespread use of artificial contraception.

But step back for a moment, does anyone honestly believe that in 2009 women suddenly became much “better” about using artificial contraception compared to the previous year?

Michael New cuts through the spin:

“…most of the mainstream-media coverage of the abortion decline was quick to credit contraception use. The Associated Press story on the abortion decline cited two professors and a Guttmacher Institute analyst. They each credited contraception use, even though they were unable to provide any actual evidence of increased contraception use in 2009. Perhaps unsurprisingly, no one representing a pro-life group was quoted or cited in the article.

Sarah Kliff, writing for the Washington Post’s Wonkblog offered some more-thoughtful commentary. She combs through some research and argues that the decline is due to the fact that women are more likely to use long-acting contraceptives such as IUDs which tend to be more effective. There is some evidence that women have become more likely to use long-acting contraceptives. However, it is unlikely there was a dramatic increase in long-acting contraceptive use in 2009. Furthermore, data from the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that even though the use of long-acting contraceptives has increased since 1995, the percentage of pregnancies that are unintended has actually increased slightly.”

Steven Ertelt of LifeNews lists some additional likely explanations:

“…the trend is that abortions are on the decline thanks to pro-life laws, the work of pregnancy centers and shutting down abortion clinics and practitioners who run afoul of the law.”

Michale New adds one more landmark that was reached in 2009:

“…The CDC data indicate that the percentage of pregnancies resulting in abortion fell slightly in 2009. Furthermore, according to Gallup, 2009 was the first year that a majority of Americans self-described as “pro-life.” Unsurprisingly, this fact has been all but ignored by the mainstream media.”

The mainstream media, meanwhile, didn’t bother to notice that its own claims that a bad economy would spike the abortion rate don’t appear to hold much water anymore. LiveActionNews has a helpful blog post on this unsurprising media amnesia.

What’s the takeaway here? The pro-life movement is working, plain and simple. (And pro-life politics are not a waste of time, as I argued last week.)

And we need to continue fighting to convert the culture every single day.

Now would be a good time to start making your pro-life resolutions for 2013. How are you going to help advance a culture of life in your neighborhood and nationally?



  • leogirl87

    We need to focus more on the personal aspects of abortion rather than the legal ones. There is too much hostility and too many far-left (who believe infanticide of newborns with disabilities or unwanted for any reason is okay) lawmakers to see abortion made illegal any time soon, unfortunately.

    Help women in crisis pregnancies and give housing to girls whose parents kick them out for getting pregnant. Make adoption more widely accepted. Make abortion unnecessary. Teach people about fetal development and show that even in the earliest abortions (before the heartbeat), that fetus is moving away from the abortion attack and fighting to live, Make abortion unthinkable.

    If abortion becomes both unnecessary and unthinkable, and we see more unwed mothers choosing the empowerment of adoption (and thus not using government aid to raise their children), we will see lots more positive results in society.

  • James Patton

    This comment would have been deleted if posted…:D


    THIS IS IN REPLY TO JOE M. BELOW.Dear Joe~ I was not weighing in on the economic
    argument. It may be that pro-life efforts to convince women to make the
    “right choice” are bearing fruit and is responsible for this positive
    trend. We don’t know. If this is the case however, the pro-life movement
    ought to exploit it. We all seem to agree that unplanned pregnancy support
    is a good thing yet Catholic resources are vastly skewed towards gaining
    control of the levers of state power for re criminalization.

    My take on re criminalization is that; 1) Roe v. Wade
    is the law of the land. The Republicans pledge to overturn it however we
    have had several periods where their party has held the White House, both
    houses of Congress and five SCOTUS justices were Catholics appointed by
    Republican presidents. Moreover, in light of the election, the GOP is
    backing away from the issue as fast as it can

    2) If Roe is reversed, it will go back to the states.
    Many of the states with the largest populations (California, New York)
    would keep it legal while smaller states i.e. Mississippi would criminalize.
    Texas with its large population would probably criminalize, however as it’s
    demographics change that might not hold, even in the near term. ;

    3) With Roe reversed, the pro-abortion community would move, with vigor, to promote and financially support “Abortion Tourism” with women traveling to the nearest non-criminalized state for their abortion.

    I think that leaves 4) a life amendment to the US Constitution. I believe that as far out as we can project, that’s a non-starter.

    Feminism isn’t going away. Women have a naturel instinct to protect the children in their womb. If this is encouraged and supported as a Catholic and American priority, they will follow it. Check out the three websites I’ve listed and Google the Pregnant Woman’s Support Act and
    you’ll find a rough outline as to how to drastically reduce the number of abortions in America. over a decade.

    Pax, Greg



  • William

    Seriously? Even more deleted comments?

    Being prolife requires more than just protecting unborn children. It requires protecting all life. Why did you argue against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, which simply provided needed legal rights to protect gay people from being murdered, beaten. and raped because of who they are?

    There was a young woman In Alabama who was beaten to near death over the holiday because of who she was. Why have you not posted her story? Because she was gay and doesn’t rate as highly as an unborn fetus? This website continually exploit gay people and runs stories to increase public prejudice against them. This inevitably leads to increased bullying and increased discrimination against gay people. These efforts lead to bullying, suicide, and murder of gay Americans. This isn’t a prolife position. but is anti-life.

    Why do you let it continue? Why do you refuse to acknowledge it? Why do you continue to perpetuate it?

  • http://profiles.google.com/liamronan49 Liam Ronan

    Do abortions resulting from the “Morning After Pill” show up in the statistics? Doubt it.

    • barbara

      That is exactly what my first thought was as well- vending machine morning after pills are being deployed on college campuses which decreases the number of reported clinical abortions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.orsborn Dave Orsborn

    Pro-Life efforts have had an impact on the number of abortions. But, of course, so has increased use of contraception (evidenced by declining overall birth rate) and the use of morning-after abortifacients.



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