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?



  • http://profiles.google.com/specificplan Ryan Charles

    Since it seems like CV wants to censor comments, I’m reposting the one that they deleted. It went something like this:

    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’s 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 exploits 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://www.facebook.com/dave.orsborn Dave Orsborn

      “This website continually exploits gay people and runs stories to increase public prejudice against them.”

      Really? Examples please.

      • Barb

        Up in the upper right hand side of your browser there is a search function. Just type in the word “gay” and hit return.

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

          So, any article that mentions “gay” is exploitative and prejudiced? Can I apply that logic to any sites that have articles that mention “gay” or does that only apply to Catholic websites?

  • http://profiles.google.com/specificplan Ryan Charles

    Quite a rash of deleted comments on this site. What is CatholicVote trying to hide?

    • Emily

      Comments are usually deleted on websites and blogs when they are vulgar or profane. Why a person would automatically assume the site in question is trying to “hide” something is beyond me.

      • http://profiles.google.com/specificplan Ryan Charles

        That wasn’t the case here at all. It seems like CV wants to stifle discussion.


    Dear Thomas:

    It’s not clear that this data supports a “political solution” or
    re-criminalization. Indeed the trend may show that women who would have
    otherwise had an abortion are choosing give birth. You seem to agree that non coercive efforts such as crisis pregnancy centers are under resourced. Looking at our
    American Catholic community, I ask what proportion of our total resources(Diocesan
    , USCCB, Knights of Columbus etc.) are going into providing support for women
    with unplanned pregnancies both before, at and after birth. and how
    much good could we do if the “slice of the pie” for such efforts was
    much larger.

    We have models. Consider: http://www.colfs.org, http://www.birthright.org and finally a secular organization, http://www.firstresort.org. Moreover, public
    policy initiatives such as were found in parts of the now dead Pregnant Women’s’
    Support Act could be vigorously supported.

    This issue deserves serious discussion. I would ask that we all dialogue on the merits of
    a nonpolitical/coercive prolife response to abortion rather than going off
    topic or insulting one another. Thanks, Greg


    • Greg Smith

      PS: Oh Thomas ~ In answer to your question at the end, in 2013, I’m going to lobby my Bishops to propose to the USCCB at one of thier meetings that there be a national second collection for Birthright. ~ Greg

    • Joe M

      Greg Smith. The data clearly contradicts the arguments for abandoning efforts to make killing innocent humans illegal.

      As was pointed out in the post, our economy is in increasingly bad shape. People are unemployed and losing income under Obama’s leadership. Yet, the abortion rate dropped. This is clear evidence that the solution to ending abortion has no significant attachment to economic policies.

      I agree that crisis pregnancy centers can do good, given the options we have in the short term. However, there is no rational comparison between the effectiveness of defending a human via a voluntary discussion and a criminal law. A significant investment should continue to be made for efforts to make killing innocent humans illegal.

      • GREG SMITH

        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

        • Joe M


          Do you then reject the argument that expanding entitlement programs qualifies as a pro-life concept?

          1. As the post notes, laws limiting abortions HAVE been passed. The vast majority of those (if not all) were introduced and championed by Republicans.

          2. I’m not sure what your point is regarding the effect of over-turning Roe vs. Wade. Abortion can not be made illegal in any state until it is over-turned. I’m not sure anyone is claiming that over-turning Roe vs. Wade would be the end of the effort. However, it’s clearly a very significant step.

          3. That could be made an illegal activity as well. For example, US citizens who commit or fund terrorist acts abroad are subject to criminal penalties.

          4. It will most likely take a Republican president appointing a few conservative justices. The possibility of that happening is not that far out. Defunding the effort to make it happen is one way to ensure that it is far out.

          Modern feminism represents the furthest thing from maternal instinct. It despises the notion that maternal instincts even exist.

          The main point I disagree with you on is that there is a finite pie of funds to be spent on pro-life efforts and that crisis centers must be funded at the expense of over-turning Roe vs. Wade. The truth is, there is no finite pie and there are a zillion other issues of less urgency than abortion that we spend more money on. The Democrat platform is littered with special interest movements that spend a lot of money that could go toward pro-life efforts. For example, how many crisis centers could be opened if Catholic Democrats in unions contributed to them even one quarter of what they have spent protecting their pensions?

          It is a reasonable goal to want funding for the overturning of Roe vs. Wade to match the funding put up by Democrats on the left to keep abortion legal. I hope that funding also goes up for crisis centers. The two are not mutually exclusive. I think it is perilous suggest otherwise.

  • Paul

    Being pro-life encompasses more than just protecting an unborn fetus Thomas. It also includes protecting the lives of gay people. Why were you against the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill? This law simply protected gay people from being raped, murdered, and beaten because of who they are.

    Mallory Owens was beaten in Alabama over the holiday weekend because of the who she is. In no small part because of the prejudice and discrimination that you have advanced against gay people.

    Why don’t you care about Mallary Owens and her life? Why have you never posted about the discrimination that gay people face on a daily basis? Why have you never posted about the millions of gay teens that kill themselves because they see no other escape from being bullied?

    Why do you and our church continue to partner to advance discrimination against gay people and put them in further danger?

    • Randall

      Why can’t you stay on topic? Oh right. Because you can’t rebut Thomas’ flawless (as always) logic. So you trot out a completely unrelated topic. Hey, next time the NY Jets are being pounded by the Patriots, maybe they should just refuse to take the field for the fourth quarter and put up a sign that says, “your team can’t play baseball. Therefore we win!” Same tactics.

      • http://profiles.google.com/specificplan Ryan Charles

        I think this comment is on topic.

    • de_Maistre

      “This law simply protected gay people from being raped, murdered, and beaten because of who they are.”

      We have laws against rape, murder, and assault to protect individuals from those attacks – adding an additional scienter requirement does nothing to protect individuals.

      • http://profiles.google.com/specificplan Ryan Charles

        If those laws are good enough to protect gay people, then why weren’t they good enough to protect religious people? The Matthew Shepard bill extended protections to gay people that were already protecting religious people and had been enacted years earlier.

        Additionally, in places like Alabama, there is still prejudice to the extent that crimes against gay people are swept under the rug. The Matthew Shepard law enables the federal government to prosecute when local law enforcement refuses to do so.

        And if laws criminalizing abortion or making it more expensive are good deterrents to prevent abortion, why is it that every time a law that criminalizes anti-gay beatings comes up, people like you can always find an excuse for why it isn’t necessary? Bigotry or just prejudice?

  • Rob

    Could it be that people simply stopped trying to get pregnant as much during the Recession? This fact has been decried on this very site. Knowing that abortion correlates pretty well with economic status, and knowing that those facing worsening economic status in the Recession were likely those decreasing attempts at pregnancy, I’m not completely surprised to see this drop.

    I realize this is all assumptions. No time today to search for data…and I hate no data!

    • Randall

      If married people are trying to avoid pregnancy, they are committing grave sins. Children are God’s greatest blessing and to deny that because of their own selfish need to have more money for themselves is awful.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carol-Sowell/1518402019 Carol Sowell

        You are so wrong on this one! I am Catholic and I do believe that children are God’s blessing, but there are natural methods to avoid conception and it is an accepted method by the Church. The point is that the decision to artificially thwart the possibility of conception during the sex act is a grave sin against God’s will. Abstinence, which requires self control, during the ovulation period is the only acceptable method. Any women can be trained to know and understand the process. Sadly, self control is sorely lacking in this day and age.

    • Randall/Adabilla/Catherine

      This is CatholicVote. No data needed. They predicted Mitt Romney would win based on feelings and beliefs. See how right they were about that? I’m sure Peters is right about this as well.

      • Randall

        Mitt Romney DID win the election. 0cheater stole the election with voter fraud.

        • ATT

          Oh yeah. You definitely have clear and indisputable facts to back that one up.

          I’m a Republican, and I’ll say it straight up – there’s nothing worse than a sore loser.

  • Jen in CT

    I don’t see your point. Studies show that less babies were born in 2009 and 2010 too. So either people were having less sex (doubtful) or more people were preventing pregnancy through contraception. Any other “takeaway” from this is just complete conjecture.

    Regardless, I don’t believe anything that you write anymore. You work for an anti-gay organization that bullies and demeans others. You work for an organization that relies on lies and prejudice to accomplish their goals. You work for an organization that knowingly and purposefully harms gay people. How many innocent gay children have been beaten or committed suicide because of the prejudice that you created?

    I first followed you two years ago, but I am unfollowing you today. I hope more people do. Lies, deception, and prejudice should not be catholic values.

    • Randall

      Wahhhhhh, wahhhhhhhh, wah. Again with the gay thing. Man you libs are obsessed with sexual deviance! Do you live for anything else? I guess when you’re sitting at home living high off the hog off your unemployment checks, there’s nothing else to do but figure out who (or what) to have sex with next.

      • http://profiles.google.com/specificplan Ryan Charles

        That is a mature response to discrimination.

    • JoseProvi

      Blah, blah, blah, liberal hogwash, blah,blah. It’s so awful your prejudice and these poor gay kids..blah blah…these aren’t Catholic values..wah wah wah…I’d like to be nice but it’s people with that whiny overly sentimental attitude that have led so many people astray. Catholicism is a faith for men and women of courage, not wimpy people who need to please everyone and’go with the flow’. Homosexuality is a terrible sin and those who willingly practice it without regard to God are headed for destruction, but then again so are fornicators, liers, idolaters and a whole bunch of others. Life is a struggle, God has given us the tools. Use them or stop pretending to be a luvy duvy Catholic and just join the world and have your fun now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/DeaconJasonMiller Jason Miller

      Please don’t bully us with your name calling. How many innocent christian children have been beaten or committed suicide because of the prejudice YOU created.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bluprntguy Philip D’Agostino

        1) I don’t see any name calling from Jen.
        2) Let’s not play ‘Victims Olympics’. No one wins.



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