US Abortion Rate Stalls, May Be on Rise Again

After declining for years, a plateau has been reached
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2011 8:25 AM CST
The abortion and contraception clinic operated by Dr. LeRoy Carhart, is seen in Bellevue, Neb., Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

(Newser) – After falling for almost two decades, the number of abortions being performed in the US appears to have plateaued, possibly another consequence of the continuing recession. The abortion rate among US women has also stalled its decline, the Washington Post reports. A new survey out today found “essentially no change” in the rates between 2005 and 2008, says a senior researcher. There's a possibility the rates could even be starting to rise again, but more data is needed to determine that.

Abortions peaked in 1990 at 1.61 million, then fell each year until reaching 1.206 million in 2005; by 2008, that number had inched up to 1.212 million. The rate of women getting abortions, similarly, peaked in 1981, then fell to its lowest level since 1974 in 2005: 19.4% of women ages 15 to 44. By 2008, it had risen to 19.6%. Evidence beyond the survey points to the struggling economy as a possible reason—fewer women can afford contraceptives or unplanned pregnancies—but some anti-abortion activists say the real culprit is the increased promotional efforts of the abortion industry.

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