A new report out Tuesday found that the abortion rate fell to historic lows in 2013 and 2014, with the number of total abortions in the country falling to fewer than one million for the first time since 1975.
The Guttmacher Institute study focused on the number of abortions performed and not what might have caused a declining abortion rate. As a result, both pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates found some cause to celebrate the report's findings.
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards told NPR the findings reflect efforts to make birth control affordable and accessible, while a representative from the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life also told NPR the results show that targeted regulation of abortion providers and laws mandating ultrasounds are "game-changers" with a "real, measurable impact on abortion."
Although the study did not specifically probe the causes of the declining abortion rate, the study’s authors, Rachel K. Jones and Jenna Jerman, suggested in a press release that improved use of contraceptives has led to fewer unplanned pregnancies, which has meant fewer abortions.
"Abortion is going down, and births aren't going up," Jones said.
Increased and improved use of contraceptives aren’t the only factors contributing to the historically low abortion rate. A wave of state laws restricting access to abortion over the last five years may have also impacted abortion rates–by making women drive hundreds of miles for the medical procedure, imposing wait times, and creating other obstacles–just as anti-abortion lawmakers intended. These restrictions have hit poor and low-income women especially hard, the authors of the study said.
Although recent polling found that seven out of 10 americans opposed overturning Roe v. Wade, access to reproductive health services, contraception, and abortion remain very much in limbo under Donald Trump's new administration.