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U.S. abortion rates at all-time low, CDC report says

The abortion rate in the United States is at a record low, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rate of abortions in the U.S. has declined by more than one-third over the past 20 years. It fell 35 percent between 1990 and 2010, reaching 17.7 procedures per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, said Sall Curtin, the report’s lead author and a statistician for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The number of induced abortions was down from 1.6 million in 1990 to 1.1 million in 2010, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Friday’s report by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics shows that induced abortions fell among all major ethnic and racial groups. For whites, the abortion rate was 9.8 per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 in 2010. That has lowered from the 19.7 per 1,000 women 15-44 in 1990.

Among Latinas, the abortion rate decreased from 35.1 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 1990 to 20.3 in 2010.

The rate remained the highest among African American women, with 47.7 abortions per 1,000 women between 15 and 44, which was down from 67 abortions per 1,000 women in 1990, according to the LA Times.

No other ethnic or racial groups’ numbers were released.

That is the lowest abortion rate the U.S. has seen since the CDC began tracking the procedure in 1976, according to Curtin. “Abortion has been on a nearly steady decline since the rate peaked in 1980,” she said.

There are several factors associated with the reduced number of abortions, but a big one is the use of highly effective birth control–a crucial trend–said report co-author Kathryn Kost, principal research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive health hub.

The pregnancy rate also reached a record low in 2010, the report stated. And that includes a 67 percent reduction for teens 14 years or younger and a 50 percent reduction for teens ages 15 to 19.

However, pregnancy rates increased for women older than 30 between 1990 and 2010. Kost said that this suggests men and women are using effective contraception and starting families later in their lives.

“Across the states, the rate of unintended pregnancy is going down,” said Kost. “That suggests that fewer women are getting pregnant when they don’t want to. It’s happening across the board, and affects the birth rate and the abortion rate.”

The vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood, Eric Ferraro, agreed with Kost. He added that “there is more that can be done to improve access to contraception, which will help further reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy.”

Randall O’Bannon, director of education and research for the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, said that the abortion is going down because “people’s attitudes and actions regarding abortion have changed.”

“It is clearly the case that women who are pregnant are now more likely to choose life for their babies than was the case 20 or even 30 years ago,” said O’Bannon.

The study was based National Vital Statistics System records and the Abortion Surveillance System. The CDC runs both. It also included information gathered from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that records issues related to reproductive health and advocates for abortion rights, LA Times reports.

About Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer
Meredith Rodefer is a freelance writer, who focuses on anything from lifestyle blogging to hard news, and dancer. Beyond Youth Independent, she has written for sites such as, and Contact Meredith: