More American women are choosing life for their children than ever before, according to the latest government data on abortion.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the US abortion rate fell 26% between 2006 and 2015 to reach an all-time low. Further, the national abortion ratio–which weighs abortions against live births–also declined to record lows. In 2005, 233 abortions occurred for every 1,000 live births. In 2015, officials documented only 188 abortions per 1,000 live births.
According to other research, America’s abortion rate has fallen concurrently with global abortion rates. Across Europe and North America, infanticide has become gradually less prevalent in developed nations. The trend extends back to the 1990s: during that decade, 45 out of every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 had an abortion. By the early 2010s, just 27 out of every 1,000 women obtained abortions in developed countries.
To explain the international decline in abortion rates, researchers point to several factors, including improved access to contraceptives, new pro-life legislation, and changing attitudes among millenials.
More restrictive abortion laws, for example, have reduced the incidence of infanticide: Globally, 39% of women of reproductive age cannot terminate their pregnancies, because no abortion clinics operate nearby.
Further, during the 1970s and 1980s, older pro-lifers in the United States significantly outnumbered their younger counterparts. Today, however, young people in the US express greater support for pro-life measures than older generations.
A 2017 Quinnipiac poll revealed that Americans aged 18 to 34 were more likely than older citizens to favor a 20-week abortion ban. Rasmussen’s 2013 study on the same topic reached similar conclusions.
To view graphical representations of the international decline in abortion rates, visit Vox news’ article on the subject.
Pro-life activists and public officials made significant legislative gains in 2018, reports the Huffington Post. Lawmakers passed nearly two dozen new protections for unborn children last year, including an unprecedented number of comprehensive abortion restrictions.
Iowa, for example, banned abortions of unborn children with detectable cardiac activity. Doctors frequently detect fetal heartbeats after just six weeks of gestation. Mississippi, meanwhile, voted to prohibit abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Both states have eclipsed a benchmark previously established by pro-life activists: to ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation.
Pro-life lawmakers’ goals have become more ambitious, notes Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion think tank. “In some states that already have so many restrictions on the books, all that is left is to ban abortion . . . the next big leap is an early abortion ban,” Nash said.
State legislators also moved to protect unborn children from discrimination based on disability. In late 2017, Ohio legislators prohibited doctors from aborting an unborn child simply because the child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. The bill belongs to a broad family of legislative proposals which seek to protect unborn children from unequal treatment based on race, gender, or physical abnormality.
Further, pro-life activists successfully campaigned to ban abortion by “dilation and evacuation” in Kentucky. Such abortions dismember unborn children in order to remove them from the mother’s womb. Nash notes that Kentucky’s law would prohibit most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Finally, pro-life litigators sought to challenge permissive abortion statues in the courts. The appointments of conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh have encouraged states to challenge the Supreme Court’s longstanding Roe v. Wade decision. “You have states across the country that are essentially lining up with prefiled abortion bans,” Nash said.
“If a state passes an abortion ban, it will be challenged and work its way through the system and can have impact[s] across the entire country. Because if the Supreme Court overturns or undermines Roe v. Wade, that applies to every state, not just the state with the case.”
States such as Oregon with no laws protecting the unborn, however, would not see any legal changes if Roe v. Wade were overturned.
Italy has experienced a steady decline in abortion rates, even though the country legalized abortion four decades ago, reports PRI. The reason? Doctors have become increasingly pro-life, and refuse to perform even legal abortions. Under Italy’s abortion law, gynecologists may register as “conscientious objectors,” and refuse to provide abortions without penalty.
“For example, in the public University of Rome, we have more than 60 doctors but only two provide abortion,” noted Silvana Agatone, a gynecologist who practices in Rome. “In 2005, the percentage of gynecologists that didn’t provide abortions was about 59 percent. Now [it is] 70 percent. And it’s growing every year.”
Nurses and anesthesiologists may also obtain conscientious objector status: In some regions of Italy, 90 percent of all care providers refuse to terminate pregnancies. Thus, many women who seek abortions at public hospitals cannot find any physician willing to end the life of their unborn children.
Agatone believes Italy’s pro-life movement has burgeoned because conservative political factions, such as the League and the Five Star Movement, have enjoyed recent success. Both the League and the Five Star Movement seek an outright ban on abortions.
Given the public’s support for pro-life measures, the ban may someday receive significant support in Parliament.
As Brendan Kelly danced to upbeat music at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, he heard a familiar sound: pop-pop-pop-pop. Kelly remembered hearing the same noise–the distinctive rattle of gunfire–at a country music concert in Las Vegas last year, and immediately took action.
“As soon as I identified where the target was, or where the threat was, I grabbed at least two people around me and yanked them as hard as I could to the nearest exit,” Kelly told KABC news, a CNN affiliate. Kelly and several other patrons escaped through a rear exit and fled to safety.
At that point, Kelly called his relatives to inform them he had lived through a second shooting. The Marine Corp veteran attributed his survival to divine providence. “Only thing I can attribute it to is God, his protective hand over me that night on October 1 (last year in Las Vegas) and last night,” he said.
Kelly’s phone call was interrupted by continued gunfire from the bar. As patrons streamed out of the building, Kelly rushed to administer first aid to the wounded. He removed his belt to slow the bleeding from a friend’s arm. “I wanted to help as best I could,” Kelly explained. “If we could be the first level of first responders before they got there, then you do all you can do instead of standing around not doing much.”
In his conversation with KABC reporters, Kelly struggled to come to grips with the Borderline shooting, which occurred just a block from his house. “It’s too close to home,” he said. Borderline had served as a “safe space” for Kelly and other survivors of the Las Vegas massacre–but that very place fell victim to the violence Kelly and his friends sought to escape.
Kelly’s conclusion? Only God could provide ultimate safety from danger.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will consider Texas’ ban on fetal dismemberment, reports the Texas Tribune.
In 2017, Texas legislators passed Senate Bill 8, which prohibited doctors from performing abortions via “dilation and evacuation”–grasping and extracting fetal tissue with surgical instruments. After a federal judge blocked the measure, Texas sought to reinstate the bill before the Fifth Circuit Court.
Justices on the court heard arguments from Texas attorneys and litigators from pro-abortion groups, including the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood. Texas assistant solicitor general Heather Gebelin Hacker deemed dilation and evacuation a “barbaric” procedure. “It’s illegal to kill an animal that way in Texas, we wouldn’t execute a murderer that way, and notably the abortion providers don’t tell women that that’s what the procedure entails,” Hacker stated.
Hacker noted that less harmful abortion methods, such as potassium chloride injections, have a proven safety record and are currently available at abortion clinics. Thus, Texas’ ban on fetal dismemberment would not affect abortion access in the state.
Center for Reproductive Rights counsel Janet Crepps, meanwhile, responded that the ban was “invasive” and “medically unnecessary,” and that potassium chloride injections increase patients’ risk for complications. “Just the idea the state thinks that’s what’s within its power is contrary to the whole idea that women have a right to autonomy, dignity,” Crepps added.
Judges on the Fifth Circuit Court asked litigators to interpret Alabama’s dilation and evacuation ban, which was struck down by the Eleventh circuit Court of Appeals. The justices also sought clarification on potassium chloride injections.
Whole Woman’s Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller told reporters after the hearing that alternative abortion methods, such as injections, are “absolutely not the standard of care.” Referring to Alabama’s failed dilation and evacuation law, Miller stated, “I really lean on the fact that a [dilation and evacuation] ban hasn’t withstood these kind of proceedings to date.”
Emily Horne, a senior legislative associate for Texas Right to Life, expressed a different view. “It comes down to we’re really talking about a modest restriction on a very brutal abortion procedure while the child is alive,” she said.
Observers expect the court to issue its ruling in the next few months.