Legal Abortions Fell Around 6 Percent in Two Months After End of Roe v. Wade
by David Atkins
The most recent data from the Guttmacher Institute shows that 6.1 percent of legal abortions in the United States were done after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973. The percentage dropped to just under 2 percent in the years following the decision and has stayed low since then.
Guttmacher President, Dr. Alan Cassels, commented, “Although abortion numbers and trends have varied over time, we are not surprised that they have changed very little in the years since Roe. Given the historical context in which abortion has been allowed and supported, it is remarkable that abortion numbers today seem to be on the way down. While abortion numbers have declined significantly over time, it is important to remember that we are talking about less than one abortion per woman per year — less than one percent of annual abortions — not one-hundredth of one percent of abortions.”
Cassels added, “Over the past 35 years, abortion rates in America have declined considerably. The abortion rate in the United States today is 0.2 percent. In 1966, that number was 2.4 percent and in 1971, it was 2.8 percent. This is the lowest rate since abortion was legal in the United States in 1973. Abortion is now a very low percentage of annual abortions. This reflects the trend that has been a remarkable decline in abortion rates since 1973. Even if abortion were at its highest proportion of annual abortions, it would still be well below where it was 15 years ago.”
Cassels points out, “The abortion rate today is lower than in any previous year since the decision to legalize abortion was made in Roe v. Wade. The abortion rate in 1966 was 0.9 percent, and in 1972, it was 1.6 percent. The low abortion rate in 1965, when abortion was allowed at almost 20 times the rate found today, is the lowest rate since the year 1973, the year Roe was decided.
Cassels added, “In 1965, abortion was legal at nearly 20 times the rate found today. It was legal at nearly twice the rate in 1972, yet the abortion rate in 1972 was about one third of the rate today. It is clear that the abortion rate has fallen dramatically over time, and will probably remain lower than what it was in