According to a federal report, the abortion rate in the United States has declined by more than one-third over the past two decades, to a record low. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of abortions has fallen 35%, with a rate of 17.7 procedures per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
This is the lowest abortion rate since the CDC began tracking abortions in 1976, said Sally Curtin, a statistician for the CDC and an author of the report. "Abortion has been on a nearly steady decline since the rate peaked in 1980," she told Healthday.com.
"Across the states, the rate of unintended pregnancy is going down," said. "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 rate of pregnancies in the United States was also at an all-time low in 2010, according to the report. The pregnancy rate was 98.7 pregnancies for every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, which is the first time it dropped below 100 per 1,000 women. In 2010, for every 100 pregnancies, 65 ended in birth, 18 in abortion, and 17 in fetal loss.
The rate of fetal loss, which includes miscarriage and stillbirth, remained relatively constant between 1990 and 2010, according to the report.
Pregnancy rates have been declining for women under age 30, including a 67% reduction for teens aged 14 and younger and a 50% reduction for teens aged 15 to 19. However, pregnancy rates increased for women 30 and older between 1990 and 2010. These statistics suggest that men and women are using effective birth control and are choosing to start having children later in life.
One factor contributing to the decrease in abortions and teen pregnancy is the increased use of highly effective birth control, such as intrauterine devices.
The CDC report covers the three possible results of pregnancy, a live birth, an abortion, or fetal loss, which would be a miscarriage or stillbirth. You can read the CDC report here.