Communications Department

New Report: Abortion Numbers Continue to Decline

Jan 17, 2008 | 2008 Press Releases

National Right to Life Cites Pro-Life Education, Legislation as Key 

WASHINGTON – Today, National Right to Life cited an increase in pro-life educational outreach and legislative initiatives as central to a new report issued by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the special research arm of Planned Parenthood, showing the annual number of abortions reaching their lowest level in nearly 30 years.

“Today’s numbers confirm what we have known for years – if women seeking abortion are fully informed about the risks surrounding abortion, the development of their unborn child, and public and private assistance available in their area, they are more likely to reject the idea of abortion,” said Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRLC director of education and research.  “Women’s Right to Know laws, parental involvement laws, bans on partial-birth abortion – all of which continue to be enacted by the states – not only help women facing crisis pregnancies, they also raise the public’s awareness about abortion and the humanity of the unborn child.” 

The Guttmacher Institute report finds just over 1.2 million abortions in the United States in 2005, down nearly 25% from their high of 1.6 million in 1990, and the lowest reported total since 1.179 million in 1976.  Additionally, the report shows the abortion rate (the number of abortions per every thousand women age 15-44) down to 19.4 per thousand – the lowest since 1974.  The Guttmacher report speculates that the lower abortion rates may be due to “more women carrying unintended pregnancies to term,” implicitly acknowledging that attitudes toward abortion and pregnancy may have substantially changed.

Much of that attitudinal shift can be attributed to the efforts of National Right to Life and its state affiliates in passing legislation at the federal and state levels to protect unborn children and equip their mothers with information.

Twenty-three states have women’s right to know laws that provide women seeking abortion with information about abortion and its risks, biological information about the development of their unborn child and available alternatives to abortion, including, significantly, the types of both governmental and private assistance available if they choose to bear their child.  Eleven states also make provisions for women to view ultrasound footage of their unborn child.

Twenty-eight states have laws providing for parental involvement in a minor daughter’s abortion decision.  Other data show that teen abortion rates have fallen further and faster than abortion rates as a whole. 

Also significant has been the enactment of partial-birth abortion bans at the federal and state level.  Public debate surrounding these laws has further increased the public’s awareness about abortion and the development of unborn children in utero.

Educational outreach has also played a significant role in changing the public’s attitude about abortion.  Every year, thousands of pieces of literature are distributed at fair booths and events nationwide.  Furthermore, polling trends continue to show that the majority of Americans oppose the vast majority of abortions.

“What the pro-life movement has done, and continues to do, has saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” Dr. O’Bannon added.  “Falling abortion rates are a sure sign that, given truthful information about abortion, about its impact on their lives, about the child growing inside them, and given even the slightest help and encouragement, many women will choose life.”  

The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide.  National Right to Life works through legislation and education to protect those threatened by abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide