U.S. Abortion Rate at 30-Year Low

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A new study reveals abortion rates fell 33 percent in the U.S. over the last 30 years. But the report also reveals there are still significant differences among populations as to who gets an abortion.

The Guttmacher Institute's study says while abortions and pregnancies among teenagers has dropped 50 percent, abortion rates are still high among older women with children and poor women. Abortion rates also differed dramatically between racial and economic groups. While abortions did decrease among white women, it did not for those of Latin or African-American descent.

Click the play button for comments from Day Gardner of the National Black Pro-Life Union.

Rachel Jones, a senior research associate with the institute, says she thinks education has been the key behind the drop in teenage pregnancies.

"We've done a lot of work addressing teen pregnancy, including comprehensive sex education, access to contraceptive services and providing kids with information to help them delay sexual activity," she said.

However, Concerned Women For America reports different factors contribute to the decline in abortions. CWA reports one key factor is parental involvement when it comes to teen pregnancies and abortion.

The conservative women's organization points to Child Trends and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy report that says, "The bottom line, they said, is that parents and friends have tremendous influence on their children, regarless of sociodemographic or economic background and characteristics," according to a reporter on CWA's website.

The Guttmacher Institutes' report claims most U.S. women having abortions today come from lower income groups.

The non-profit institute's research is based on a study of abortion rates from 1974 to 2004.

Report's Findings

Other findings in the report, titled Trends in the Characteristics of Women Obtaining Abortions, 1974 to 2004, include:

The teen abortion rate dropped from 33 percent in 1974 to 17 percent in 2004.

57 percent of abortions in 2004 were among women in their 20s.

Most abortions in 2004 occurred during the first trimester.

Abortions performed at seven weeks or sooner after pregnancy increased from 16 percent in 1994 to 28 percent in 2004.

60 percent of abortions in 2004 were among women who already had children, up from 50 percent in 1989 and 46 percent in 1974.

Sources: Time.com, HealthDay News, CWFA.org

Originally published September 24, 2008

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