The US abortion rate fell by 13 percent from 2008 to 2011, and reached the lowest rate since abortion was made legal in 1973. If these figures are true, we ought to be thankful for the mercy of many thousands of lives that are living and breathing as a result. And let’s remember, at just under 1.1 million murders a year, the numbers are still horrific.
But what’s caused this reduction? There’s no one thing, but analysts and commentators have suggested a number of contributory factors:
1. Republican state legislation: Laws requiring abortion clinic standards to raise their hygiene and surgical standards ave caused many unscrupulous clinics to close their doors (is there such a thing as a scrupulous abortion clinic?)
2. Improved birth control: People are being extra careful with contraception because they realize that in such tough economic times they cannot afford to risk getting pregnant.
3. Contraception technology: New kinds of long-term intrauterine devices, means people aren’t relying on pills and condoms that sometimes fail.
4. Shift in public attitudes: In 1996 56% of Americans were pro-choice and 33% pro-life. By 2013, only 45% called themselves pro-choice while 48% were pro-life.
5. Ultrasound: Early pregnancy scans make it harder for people to deny what they are seeing is a real human life.
6. Information: The pro-life movement have managed to make far more people aware of the horror of abortion procedures, and especially of late-term abortions.
7. Kermit Gosnell: The horrific conditions and practices in some abortion clinics have appalled even pro-abortionists.
8. The “Juno Effect”: Some think that Juno, the movie about a pregnant teenager who chooses to keep her child may have persuaded younger women and girls to prefer adoption or motherhood to termination. Other films and TV shows have also, probably unwittingly, exposed abortion motives and procedures.
9. Planned Parenthood’s Agenda: I’m a bit wary about these statistics showing a drop in the abortion rate as they are published by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, research arm of Planned Parenthood. I’m suspicious that the pro-abortion movement senses the momentum moving against it and is trying to use statistics to argue that the numbers are reducing because the problem is being fixed by present policies and practices. “So no change required,” they say.
Remember that abortion providers are not required to report statistics. The Washington Post reports that, “The Center for Disease Control draws from state health department reports, and its data are incomplete. For example, California — responsible for an estimated 17 percent of abortions nationwide — does not gather data on the number of abortions.”
10. The Morning After Pill: The morning-after pill aborts by preventing implantation but it’s not counted in these statistics. It’s estimated that 5 million women used this pill between 2006-2010. There are also other easily available drugs that are not approved for use as abortion drugs but which an unknown number of women are using.
So it’s a real mixture of reasons that produce a real mixture of emotions. Cynicism about the stats and fear about how they will be used; joy about (m)any lives saved, anger at the continuing slaughter; gratitude for some of the reasons behind the drop, disappointment at some of the other reasons. Above all, prayer that our politicians and judges will be convicted in their minds and hearts of this horrific sin, publicly repent, make abortion as illegal and illogical as slavery, and make it no longer necessary for caring citizens to spend their days and nights standing outside “clinics” with Babies are Murdered Here signs.