Early Medication Abortion Makes Up an Increasing Proportion of All Abortions
While the study did not specifically investigate reasons for the decline, the authors note that the study period (2008-2011) predates the major surge in state-level abortion restrictions that started during the 2011 legislative session, and that many provisions did not go into effect until late 2011 or even later. The study also found that the total number of abortion providers declined by only 4% between 2008 and 2011, and the number of clinics (which provide the large majority of abortion services) declined by just 1%.
"With abortion rates falling in almost all states, our study did not find evidence that the national decline in abortions during this period was the result of new state abortion restrictions. We also found no evidence that the decline was linked to a drop in the number of abortion providers during this period," says Rachel Jones<http://www.guttmacher.
Beginning in 2011, state efforts to restrict abortion have surged, according to Guttmacher research<http://www.
While the overall abortion rate continued to decline, the proportion of abortions that were early medication procedures continued to increase. An estimated 239,400 early medication abortions were performed in 2011, representing 23% of all nonhospital abortions, an increase from 17% in 2008. The study estimated that 59% of all known abortion providers offer this service.
"Clearly, the availability of medication abortion does not lead women to have more abortions," says Jones<http://www.guttmacher.
The study also found that abortion rates dropped in all four U.S. regions and in all but six states during 2008-2011: Declines were steepest in the Midwest (17%) and the West (15%), and less steep yet noteworthy in the South (12%) and Northeast (9%). Notably, the few states in which abortion rates increased had rates lower than the national average to begin with.
This analysis was based on the Guttmacher Institute's 16th census of all known abortion providers in the United States. The study, "Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2011," is available online and will appear in the March 2014 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.
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