The number of abortions performed in the United States increased between 2017 and 2020, reversing a 30-year trend, according to figures released on Wednesday.
The number of abortions increased in all four regions of the country, with the largest increase (12%) in the West, followed by the Midwest (10%), South (8%) and Northeast (2%).
Institute scientist Rachel Jones said there was no simple explanation for those trends, which came amid a 6% decline in births. But Jones said the numbers vividly illustrate how a larger percentage of people decided to have abortions even as the pool of those getting pregnant overall was smaller.
“This underscores just how vital accessible abortion care is at a moment when access is about to be decimated in many parts of the country,” said Jones. “We must redouble efforts to expand access to affordable and timely abortion care for all who need it.”
The Guttmacher Institute, a research group that advocates for abortion rights, said its data showed 930,160 abortions took place in 2020, an 8% increase from the 862,320 carried out in 2017, the lowest number since 1973, when the Supreme Court federalized abortion rights with its Roe v. Wade ruling.
According to the report, in 2020, 1 in 5 pregnancies ended in abortion.
The survey comes ahead of the Supreme Court decision which could overturn Roe V Wade. A draft opinion by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, leaked to Politico in early May, indicated that the conservative wing of the court is considering overturning the landmark decision, which could trigger bans or more restrictions in at least half of U.S. states.
The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research and policy organization, surveys all known facilities providing abortion in the U.S. every three years and uses the information, alongside state health department data, to collect facts on total number of abortions, it said.
At least 26 states could move swiftly to ban abortion if the court’s conservative majority strikes down federally protected abortion rights. Of those, 13 have “trigger laws” that would take effect immediately or through a quick state action if Roe no longer applies, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WASHINGTON POST
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