A new analysis reveals abortions are increasing nationwide.
Abortions are on the rise in the United States, a new report shows. It was released just before the Supreme Court issued a final ruling in the matter, overturning Roe v. Wade, which has made abortion legal in the United States for nearly 50 years.
In May, an initial draft of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito struck down Roe v. Wade decision. (Justice Harry A. Blackmun, a Republican, wrote the majority opinion for the court legalizing abortion in the 1970s.) Alito wrote, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled…It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” The draft document was titled “Opinion of the Court,” and a final decision in late-June officially made the opinion a law.
The report shows there were abortion increases in every area of the U.S. in the three-year span from 2017 to 2020. And the results showed one in five pregnancies (20.6 percent) ended in abortion during that time, according to the Guttmacher Institute. It indicated the number of abortions increased to “930,160 in 2020, from 862,320 in 2017.” Increases were seen in every area of the nation with data as follows: “by 12 percent in the West, by 10 percent in the Midwest, by 8 percent in the South and by 2 percent in the Northeast.”
Overall, the report indicates the abortion rate rose in “2020 to 14.4 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 from 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women of that age group in 2017, a 7 percent increase.” It stated further that “while 25 states enacted 168 abortion restrictions from 2017 to 2020, some were stopped by legal challenges and many were enacted by states that already had significant restrictions, so the new laws might not have prevented many more abortions.”
Leslie Reagan, a historian of American medicine and public health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, responded to the data, “It shows that people in every state seek abortions despite restrictive measures in many states.”
About half of the states, the report shows, are expected to ban or restrict abortion now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, while others could expand access for patients from states that previously made abortion inaccessible. Some of the inaccessibility had to do with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic as many medical facilities closed at that time. Additionally, for a portion of 2020, there was a judge’s ruling that allowed abortion pills to be mailed to patients which was eventually accepted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDS) at the end of the subsequent year. Now, these pills will be illegal.
However, the institute said, “there were no clear patterns to explain each state’s trajectory.” The high court is allow each sate to decide how to best interpret the ruling.
Reagan, who wrote a book titled “When Abortion Was a Crime,” said she believed “the severe unemployment and food insecurity that followed the shutdown” during the height of the pandemic had partially caused an increase in the abortion rate. “Many people couldn’t feed themselves and their existing families and knew they could not support a child,” she explained.