In a time when bad news saturates headlines, pro-lifers have reason to rejoice: America’s abortion rate has plummeted in all 50 states to its lowest point since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized it in 1973.
According to a paper published by the Guttmacher Institute, there was a 13 percent drop in national abortion rates between 2008 and 2011.
In response, both conservative and liberal activists are rushing to explain why abortions have dropped, predictably attributing the trend to their respective legislative goals. In many cases, the data is conflicting and can be cherry-picked to support one’s presuppositions or hopes. Anyone (including me) who speculates on what is driving this trend assumes the risk of allowing personal bias to influence their explanations.
But as I have surveyed arguments and data coming from both sides, here are three reasons I believe the abortion rate has plummeted: