The rate and number of abortions has fallen to the lowest level in decades, according to a new report out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1971 was the last year the US had a lower abortion rate, two years before Roe v. Wade.
The latest data is from 2013 and incorporates the numbers from forty-seven states. The CDC tallied 664,435 abortions committed in the US. This works out to 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years old. This is down five percent from 2012 and half the rate from 1980.
The CDC does not receive data from California, Maryland, and New Hampshire, as they are not required to submit their state’s abortion information. However, it widely accepted that, with their inclusion, estimates put the number at approximately 900,000 abortions every year in all fifty states.
The report notes that women are obtaining abortions earlier in gestation, when risks are lower. Sixty-six percent of all abortion were performed before eight completed weeks gestation, and ninety-two percent by thirteen weeks. The percentage of abortions performed at less than eight weeks’ gestation increased four percent from 2004. Among areas that reported abortions by individual week, there was a sixteen percent increase in abortions before six weeks gestation.
Women may not be showing signs of pregnancy, but they are feeling the weight of caring for a child. And unfortunately, the weight for too many is too much to handle.
Girls under the age of nineteen accounted for 11.7 percent of abortions. Women in their twenties experienced more than fifty-eight percent of abortions. And fifteen percent of the abortions were obtained by married women.
One abortion is one too many, but the decrease in abortions is reason to celebrate progress. The report lists several factors explaining the decrease. They include: increased use of contraception, state regulations, parenteral involvement laws, waiting periods, and an “increasing acceptance of non-marital childbearing.”
Laws should be passed that ensure the health of any living being, but the atmosphere must be changed in order to welcome the beauty of a baby.
The number of abortions have gone down, despite there being a pro-choice president in the White House and pro-choice senators making up the majority in the upper house. The battle over abortion may be fought in Washington, but it will be won in neighborhoods. While regulation should be a part of the pro-life movement, it cannot be the whole of the pro-life movement.
The abortion issue has turned into a political football that can unnecessarily detract from the ones who feel the weight of the world on their shoulders and weight of a child in their womb. Instead of fighting in Washington, organizations like #StandForLife and Brave Love are changing the atmosphere in their communities.
No one likes to be where they are not welcomed, but these organizations are welcoming women of all backgrounds and changing the narrative with great results. Pregnancy is not a problem; it is a privilege. A baby is not a burden; he or she is a beautiful gift. Some gifts may be too much, but you never throw them away. Rather, you re-gift, finding someone who has a place and a heart to accept and cherish the gift.
For too long, one’s position on abortion has served only to divide us. Both sides have raised their voices with shouts of accusation. One side cries out for women’s rights. The other side cries out for the child. But all too often, the cries from the halls of power have only kept us from hearing the cries of the mother. This is more than an issue; it is a person—rather, two people.
As Christians, we must take a stand (Proverbs 31:8–9) but we must not forget to serve (Matthew 20:28).
As Christians, we must take a stand (Proverbs 31:8–9) but we must not forget to serve (Matthew 20:28). In today’s world, our stand is only as strong as our service. And our words are as directly tied to our deeds as a newborn is tied to its mother. Abortions may have gone down, but we cannot give up.