Finn: The abortion rate is decreasing

Taylor Finn

Abortion is definitely a hot-button issue, one that is especially difficult to discuss because people tend to have such concrete beliefs that a civilized discussion can quickly escalate into an emotional, dramatic unproductive argument. For that reason, I tend to try to avoid the topic altogether. However, when my best friend from back home and I were talking about the news the other day he told me about an abortion-related statistic that I couldn’t help but write about this week.

According to a Guttmacher Institute’s 16th census, the amount of women getting abortions is on a steep downward spiral. Roughly 17 out of 1,000 women terminated their pregnancies in the year 2011. That is the lowest ratio since abortions were first legalized in 1973.

This dramatic decrease could be the result of many different factors. The first being the charged pro-life campaign that has been run across the United States for many years. The campaign has greatly affected the policy makers in this country, causing 205 governmental restrictions to become implemented since 2011. Even with all of these new restrictions, only 1 percent of abortion clinics have been closed since 2011. That being said, these restrictions are not the sole reason for the decreased number of abortions in America.

A second cause that seems to have an even greater effect on this ratio is the improved methods of birth control that have become available within the last decade. Many doctors are getting their patients more permanent forms of birth control such as IUDs that are more reliable than the pill. With birth control more available, affordable and reliable, many women no longer have a need to terminate pregnancies in the first place.

Regardless of the reasons behind this 13 percent drop in the number of abortions each year, these numbers are something everyone should be happy with. An obvious observation is the fact that pro-life supporters will be encouraged with this declining trend. It is a step in, what many pro-life individuals think, is the right direction and is a great achievement for those who have worked so hard to reduce the numbers of abortions across the nation.

Celebrating alongside pro-life supports will be many pro-choice advocates. Contrary to many beliefs, pro-choice individuals are not advocating abortions, they are not going door to door encouraging everyone and their mothers to abort all unwanted children. In fact, I would argue that many pro-choice individuals don’t necessarily love the idea of abortion either. What they do love is a woman’s right to simply make up her own mind about what happens inside her own body, which is why they are pushing to keep organizations like Planned Parenthood up and running.

With that being said, I think you will see the pro-choice camp rejoicing over these numbers as well. As important as it is for the pro-choice camp that abortions are readily available to those who need it, many will be happy to see that overall the numbers of abortions have decreased.

Call me crazy, but perhaps this is an achievement both sides of the argument can feel good about. Instead of the constant heated debates, it would be encouraging to see both pro-life and pro-choice supporters to sit across the table and discuss things like increasing the availability and effectiveness of birth control, and requiring that schools educate students about sexual health. Lets stop attacking each other and start attacking this problem at the root.

There will always be a demand for abortions. I am not naive enough to think that pro-life and pro-choice supporters will ever come to an agreement on how this issue should be solved, but I do think that if they would make time for a diplomatic conversation, there would be many issues they could come to an agreement on. If we continue to make birth control within the reach of women across the country, and if we can supply today’s youth with better education about sexual health, I am hopeful that these numbers will continue to decrease.