Americans are having the fewest abortions at the lowest rate since the procedure became legal nationwide in 1973, according to a new Guttmacher Institute report.
The pro-abortion rights group “counted 862,000 abortions in the U.S. in 2017,” which is “down from 926,000 tallied in the group's previous report for 2014, and from just more than 1 million counted for 2011,” NBC News reported on Wednesday.
Abortion numbers are down all across the country, the report states, including both Republican-controlled states that have sought to restrict access and Democratic-controlled states that have protected women’s right to choose.
Only five states and the District of Columbia saw an increase in abortions from 2011 to 2017, NBC reported.
Along with the abortion rate, America’s birth rate also declined over those years, potentially explaining one reason for the decline in terminations: fewer women are becoming pregnant in the first place.
Increased access to contraceptives is likely a major factor, the Guttmacher Institute said in its report, noting that in 2011 the Affordable Care Act made covering birth control with no copay a requirement for more health insurance providers.
"If your priority is to reduce abortions, one of the best things you can do is make sure that women have access to high-quality, affordable and effective methods of birth control," Alina Salganicoff, director of women's health policy for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, told NBC.
But the Trump administration has not followed such advice.
Changes the administration made to the Title X federal family planning program have led about “one in five family planning clinics” to exit the program. Under the new rules, the participating facilities are not permitted to refer patients for abortions.
Title X clinics provide low-income women with access to basic health services and birth control, NBC noted.