Abortions decline thanks to education and contraceptives

Abortions performed in the United States are at their lowest level since 1971, according to information released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, which incorporates 47 states, shows an abortion rate for 2013 at 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 — a decrease of 5 percent from 2012 and half of the rate of 25 percent recorded in 1980.

The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision establishing abortion rights for women across the country was still two years out the last time numbers were this low.

Now, under the unpredictable leadership of our soon-to-be president, Donald Trump, it is not clear what the future of abortion rights will look like in the U.S.

Throughout his campaign, Trump pledged to appoint “pro-life” justices to the Supreme Court, opening up the possibility of a weakening or reversal of Roe v. Wade. Following his election, Trump said during a CBS “60 Minutes” interview that if a reversal were made, the matter would return to individual state legislatures to decide on abortion rights, meaning women living in anti-abortion states would “perhaps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state.”

Even without a shift in the court, it is already difficult enough to receive treatment in some areas, such as Mississippi, which is among a handful of states with only one abortion clinic, according to the CDC report. Many other states have placed limitations and other strict requirements on abortion clinics.

The report, however, seems to indicate the restrictions aren’t among the top reasons for the decline in abortions. The CDC credits a drop in adolescent pregnancies, expanded coverage of contraception costs by health care plans and increased use of effective, long-lasting contraceptive methods as factors in the nationwide decline of abortion.

In the coming months and years under Republican leadership, we are hopeful Trump, the Supreme Court and states consider the facts behind the current decline in abortions and opt toward education and contraceptives rather than taking away a woman’s right to chose.