Communications Department

New Guttmacher Study Shows Abortion Numbers Hit Historic Low

Jan 17, 2017 | 2017 Press Releases

WASHINGTON – A new report released today by the Guttmacher Institute found that in 2014, for the first time since 1975, the annual number of abortions dropped below one million. The Guttmacher Institute today released the results of its latest survey of abortion performers in “Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2014.” Using data from 1,671 abortion clinics, hospitals, and private physicians, the report found that the number of abortions being performed in the U.S. dropped to 926,190, the lowest figure in thirty years and the first time the total has dropped below million a year since 1975

“Through the long-term efforts of the right-to-life movement to educate the country about the humanity of the unborn child, and our efforts to enact laws that help children and their mothers, abortion numbers continue to decrease dramatically as more women choose life for their children,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Though we still have a long way to go, hitting this historic low is a critical milestone as we work to restore full legal protection to unborn children.”

Abortion rates and ratios are also at their lowest levels in decades for Guttmacher, both now lower than they were for 1973 when abortion on demand was first legalized nationwide.  Guttmacher now says that there were just 14.6 abortions for every 1,000 women aged 15-44 as of July 1st of 2014.  It was almost 30 (29.3) in 1981 and as high as 21.3 as recently as 2000.  The abortion ratio, for Guttmacher measuring the number of abortions per pregnancies ending in abortion or live birth, was just 18.8 for 2014.  That, too, is lower than it was the year Roe v. Wade was decided, and significantly less than it was in 1983, when nearly a third (30.4 abortions for every 100 pregnancies ending in abortion or live birth) were aborted.

“Something that Guttmacher and the media don’t seem to be considering is that women aren’t buying the abortion sales pitch anymore. Abortion has never been a solution for mothers, for their babies, or for society in general, and that’s now more apparent than ever” said Tobias, “When they see the child moving in the womb on an ultrasound, when they hear the heartbeat of the unborn child, when they know there are people and programs available to help them with a new baby and new circumstances, when they see what dismemberment abortion does to these precious children, the pain and agony that is involved in every chemical abortion, they look for life preserving solutions that are better for everyone involved.”

The Guttmacher report shows the impact of pro-life legislation, especially in the past few years, most especially the educational impact of the public policy debate surrounding pro-life legislation like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act at the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Act, which they have also increased public awareness about the impact of abortion by prompting discussion of such topics as the development of the unborn child, the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion, and the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure.

“Though we’ve still got quite a ways to go to restoring full legal and moral respect for the unborn, this is a critical milestone, getting below one million abortions for the first time since 1975,” said Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., National Right to Life director of education and research. “Guttmacher credits a number of factors — increased contraceptive use, limits on abortions at the state level, etc., which may have played a role — but one element that may not be getting its due is the increasing sense among Americans that abortion is a no real solution for mothers, for their babies, or for society in general.” 

“Our hope for President-elect Trump is that he will appoint pro-life judges and that the Congress will pass and the courts will approve measures that offer greater protection to the unborn and will reduce these numbers even further,” said Tobias, “Long term, we hope that the country will continue to move in this direction and that we will reach a point, in the not so distant future, where every unborn life will be welcomed in life and respected in law.”

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias and National Right to Life Director of Education & Research Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D. are available to provide further analysis and commentary on the Guttmacher report. To arrange an interview, please contact the NRLC Communications Department at (202) 626-8825 or email

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization.  Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.