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%.The method of abortion also shifted significantly during the three-year study period, with medication abortions going from 17 percent to 23 percent of abortions not performed in hospitals. Good news on that score is that the rise in medication abortions went hand in hand with earlier abortions, which are safer for women.
"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, lead author of the study.
Please read below the fold for more on the drop in abortions.
The lowered rate of abortion coincided with a drop in the birth rate and pregnancy rates, according to the study's lead author Rachel Jones, who said:
"The decline in abortions coincided with a steep national drop in overall pregnancy and birth rates. Contraceptive use improved during this period, as more women and couples were using highly effective, long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, such as the IUD. Moreover, the recent recession led many women and couples to want to avoid or delay pregnancy and childbearing.”While the study found no evidence that new abortion-restricting state laws had an impact on women's ability to obtain abortion, that doesn't mean they aren't problematic or won't make matters worse in the future. Such restrictions were passed in record numbers in 2011, with more such laws being passed in the three years ending in 2013 than in the previous decade.
Forced-birthers are clearly not finished in their efforts to hamstring women's reproductive rights. For instance, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said in his state of the state address two weeks ago that his goal is to end abortion in the Magnolia State. Currently, only one abortion clinic is operating in Mississippi, and its future will be determined by the outcome of a lawsuit against the state's law requiring that abortion providers must have hospital admitting privileges. Jury selection in that case begins March 3.