Shocking perhaps no one, and sending the perpetually frustrated anti-choice Right into a bout of non-soul-searching, new data released by the government this week shows that abortions have fallen five percent while at the same time use of contraception has increased.
NEW YORK - U.S. abortions fell 5 percent during the Great Recession in the biggest one-year decrease in at least a decade, according to government figures released Wednesday. [...]
By all accounts, contraception is playing a role in lowering the numbers.
Some cite a government study released earlier this year suggesting that about 60 percent of teenage girls who have sex use the most effective kinds of contraception, including the pill and patch. That's up from the mid-1990s, when fewer than half were using the best kinds.
Experts also pointed to the growing use of IUDs. The IUD, or intrauterine device, is a T-shaped plastic sperm-killer that a doctor inserts into a woman's uterus. A Guttmacher Institute study earlier this year showed that IUD use among sexually active women on birth control rose from under 3 percent in 2002 to more than 8 percent in 2009.
IUDs essentially prevent "user error," said Rachel Jones, a Guttmacher researcher.
Ananat said another factor for the abortion decline may be the growing use of the morning-after pill, a form of emergency contraception that has been increasingly easier to get. It came onto the market in 1999 and in 2006 was approved for non-prescription sale to women 18 and older. In 2009 the age was lowered to 17.
Is increased use of contraception a result of a poor economy? The question is a misnomer, because reproductive freedom is economic freedom. And without that freedom, the rate of abortion may not have decreased.
Unfortunately those who typically oppose abortion in all cases also oppose easier access to contraception even though it decreases the number of abortions. And in the case of the morning-after pill, the toughest critics describe it as an "abortifacient."
Nowhere is the cognitive dissonance greater than inside the Catholic church, which as you read this is still engaged in a campaign to fight the Department of Health and Human Services' contraception mandate.
Could it be that they aren't as concerned about abortion as they are the idea of women having as much social and economic freedom as men do? In the face of an increasingly-large mountain of evidence that access to contraception reduces abortions, their campaign to deny women access appears more and more like a reflection of Rush Limbaugh's now infamous "slut" rant.
The numbers released this week do not reflect the effect Obamacare will have on the rate of abortion, but if current trends continue, we can expect the number to further decrease and possibly at an even greater rate than before.
Regardless of how low the rate of abortion becomes in the near future as the means to prevent unwanted pregnancy become ubiquitous, it should remain legal and affordable for those who need it.