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CDC: U.S. Abortion Rate Continues to Drop

(Carlos Barria/Reuters)

The rate of abortions in the U.S. has continued to decline, according to data published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recorded 623,471 abortions in 2016, down over 2 percent from 636,902 in 2015, according to data submitted from 47 states and New York City. California, Maryland, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. did not provide data to the CDC for those years.

In the areas for which data is available, there were 11.6 abortions per 1,000 women from ages 15 to 44, down from a rate of 11.8 abortions the previous year.

For every 1,000 live births in 2016 there were 186 abortions, down 18 percent from 226 abortions per 1,000 live births the previous year.

About 91 percent of abortions occurred at or before 13 weeks of pregnancy, and only 1.2 percent occurred at or after 21 weeks, the CDC said.

The latest known abortion rate from 2016 is down 26 percent from 825,240 abortions in 2007.

The country’s abortion rate increased after the landmark Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide, but has steadily decreased since it peaked at 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women in 1980 and 1981.

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, has attributed the decline to better access to contraception. Simultaneously, the pro-life movement has increased its reach, causing anti-abortion groups to claim the decline is due to public opinion souring on abortion as well as more restrictive abortion laws.

A majority of Americans support at least some restrictions on abortion. While six in ten Americans believe abortion should remain legal during the first trimester of pregnancy, only 28 percent think second trimester abortions should be legal, and only 13 percent support legal third trimester abortions. About a third of Americans support “heartbeat laws,” which ban abortion at about four weeks, when a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

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