Some good news on the reproductive health front today as a new report finds that not only has there been a dramatic drop in abortion rates lately, but it’s pretty much directly linked to the widespread use of birth control, especially during hard economic times:
U.S. abortions fell 5 percent during the recession and its aftermath in the biggest one-year decrease in at least a decade, perhaps because women are more careful to use birth control when times are tough, researchers say.
The decline, detailed on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, came in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Both the number of abortions and the abortion rate dropped by the same percentage.
Some experts 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.
[Duke U. researcher Elizabeth] Ananat said another factor 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 that was lowered to 17.
In addition to the increased use of contraception, there’s also the fact that fewer women are willing to face pregnancy and child-rearing during a recession, though that may well change now that the U.S. is slowly but surely limping out of its financial chasm. These numbers also originate from before the flurry of anti-abortion legislation crammed through by state and Congressional Republicans in the last couple of years, so be wary of lying ideologues who will doubtlessly try to claim the lower rate of abortions as a victory for their sex-shaming, women-oppressing camp.
All in all, this paints yet another devastating picture for the anti-abortionist argument that women just need to abstain from sexual activity if they really want to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Not only is abstinence-only complete ineffective hogwash, it’s simply pointless with the availability and efficacy of modern birth control methods. Women no longer need to prevent themselves from enjoying one of life’s great pleasures in order to retain control over their bodies and lives, regardless of what the Orwellianly-labeled “pro-life” movement claims.