On Sept. 18, a study by the Guttmacher Institute said, the U.S. abortion rate dropped to its lowest rate recorded since abortion was legalized in 1973. Abortion rates fell in most states and in all four regions of the country.
In 2017, the most recent year available, the abortion rate was 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women. That’s an 8% decline from 2014, the last time Guttmacher calculated the U.S. abortion rate, and 54% lower than when the group recorded the peak rate in 1980.
Guttmacher attributed the decline to two factors: a declining pregnancy rate and a growing disparity between abortion access in liberal and conservative states. That divide stems largely from laws targeting the operations of clinics that provide abortions, a style of regulation known as a Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider – or TRAP – law.
The Supreme Court of the United States recognized the constitutional right to abortion in 1973 in Roe v. Wade. In the decades since, the court has continued to affirm the fundamental right to abortion, including in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and in 2016 in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Despite existing precedents, states have continued to find ways to restrict or ban abortion, enacting more than 227 restrictions between January 2014 and June 2019.
“Although the number of state abortion restrictions continued to increase in the Midwest and South between 2014 and 2017, these restrictive policies do not appear to have been the primary driver of declining abortion rates,” the report said.
President Donald Trump on May 2019 indirectly addressed the nation’s spate of new abortion legislation, saying he was “strongly pro-life.”
“As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions—Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother—the same position taken by Ronald Reagan,” the president wrote on Twitter.