The U.S. Abortion Rate continues to Drop: once Again, State Abortion limitations Are not the main Driver


Abortion constraints were not the key driver that the decrease in the U.S. Abortion rate between 2011 and 2017. Rather, the decrease in abortions shows up to be connected to decreases in births and also pregnancies overall. There space a number of potential explanations for this vast decline, some an ext plausible than others.Still, abortion restrictions, specifically those imposing unnecessary, intentionally burdensome regulation on providers, play a function in shutting down abortion clinics in some states and thereby reducing access to abortion.Understanding the factors driving the decline in the abortion price has necessary policy implications. However, attempts to alleviate abortion v coercive limitations are a direct violation of individuals’ dignity, bodily autonomy and also reproductive freedom.

Between 2011 and also 2017, the U.S. Abortion landscape changed significantly. As documented by the audioeditorfree.com Institute’s routine abortion provider census, all the key measures that abortion declined, consisting of the number of abortions, the abortion rate and the abortion ratio.1,2 The decreases are component of fads that go back decades.

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The number the abortions dropped by 196,000—a 19% decrease from 1,058,000 abortions in 2011 come 862,000 abortions in 2017.1,2The abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 females aged 15–44) dropped by 20%, from 16.9 in 2011 come 13.5 in 2017.The abortion ratio (the variety of abortions every 100 pregnancies ending in either abortion or live birth) fell 13%, from 21.2 in 2011 come 18.4 in 2017.

The concern of what is behind these fads has necessary policy implications, and the 2011–2017 period warrants specific attention due to the fact that it synchronized with an unmatched wave of brand-new abortion restrictions. During that timeframe, 32 claims enacted a full of 394 new restrictions,3,4 through the vast majority of these measures having taken effect (that is, they were no struck under by a court).

However, decreases in abortion do not serve patients if the reason behind the decrease is interference with individuals’ decision making about their reproductive options. Reducing abortion by shuttering clinics and erecting logistical barriers for patient is in direct dispute with sound public health policy, and also the conflict should no be framed based upon the false premise that any reduction in abortion is a great outcome. Rather, it is an important to remember that timely and also affordable accessibility to abortion must be available to anyone who wants and needs it. And it is equally important to acknowledge that obstructing or denying treatment in the name of to reduce abortion is a violation that individuals’ dignity, bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom.

With the easily accessible evidence, it is impossible to pinpoint exactly which determinants drove current declines, and to what degree. However, vault audioeditorfree.com analyses have documented that abortion restrictions, while exceptionally harmful at an separation, personal, instance level, were not the main driver that national decreases in the abortion price in the 2008–20115 or 2011–20146 time periods. Much the same appears to organize true because that the 2011–2017 timeframe, as detailed below. Rather, the decrease in abortions shows up to be part of a more comprehensive decline in pregnancies, as evidenced by under births end the very same period.

Abortion Restrictions

Abortion limitations target either individuals’ ability to accessibility the procedure (such together by imposing coercive wait periods and counseling requirements) or providers’ capability to sell it (such as through unnecessary and intentionally burdensome regulations). Any one that these constraints could result in some people being compelled to proceed pregnancies they were seeking come end; this could, in theory, lower the abortion rate.

Restrictions and Clinic Closures

Because 95% of every abortions reported in 2017 were detailed at clinics—either those specializing in abortion or those wherein abortion is part of a wider set of clinical services—changes in the variety of clinics is a great proxy for alters in abortion access overall.1 in between 2011 and 2017, the number of clinics providing abortion in the united States decreased by much less than 4%, native 839 come 808.1,2

However, this watch modest adjust masks significant differences by region of the country: in between 2011 and also 2017, the South had actually a net decline of 50 clinics, with 25 in Texas alone, and the Midwest had a net decrease of 33 clinics, including nine every in Iowa, Michigan and also Ohio.1,2 The West lost a network of seven clinics. Through contrast, the Northeast added a network 59 clinics, mostly in brand-new Jersey and new York.

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The South and also the Midwest also had the biggest share of brand-new abortion restrictions during that period, with virtually 86% of full restrictions nationwide enacted in those 2 regions. It seems clear the these similar geographic patterns space not a simultaneously (see number 1).1,2 In particular, once researchers look at the impact of abortion constraints on clinic numbers, one form of restriction was standing out: catch (targeted regulation the abortion providers) laws and also administrative regulations did minimize the number of clinics offering abortion between 2011 and 2014.6,7 and also although few clinic regulations were enacted in between 2014 and 2017, enforcement of existing regulations played a function in the closure of some clinics throughout that period.8

Between 2011 and also 2017, trap regulations led to the closure that roughly fifty percent of all clinics that detailed abortion in four states—Arizona, Kentucky, Ohio and Texas—and the closure of five clinics in Virginia, including two the the state’s largest providers.1,2 The clinic regulations in Texas to be struck down by the U.S. Can be fried Court in 2016 (thereby prohibiting few of the most egregious TRAP laws nationwide) and also the Virginia regulation were greatly repealed in 2017.9,10 However, clinic number in the affected states did no increase significantly even v these constraints eliminated, underscoring that as soon as a clinic is compelled to close, it deserve to be complicated if no outright impossible for it come reopen.

Smaller transforms in clinic number are also important, particularly in states where accessibility to abortion solutions is currently extremely limited. Missouri, West Virginia and Wisconsin each shed one clinic in the 2011–2017 timeframe the end of an already tiny number in each state.1,2 In instances like this, the staying clinics generally cannot absorb every the patient seeking abortion care and patients must face greater and sometimes insurmountable obstacles to obtaining an abortion, such as much longer travel distances and increased financial costs.11,12