In the latest report from an abortion rights research group, abortions performed in the United States increased by 8% between 2017 and 2020, reversing a 30-year downward trend, according to data released Wednesday. by the Guttmacher Institute.
The hike comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is due to rule this month in a case widely believed to end or significantly restrict the right to process, a draft opinion from the court that made the object of a leak.
The increase means the impact of reversing the court’s decision in Roe v. Wade of 1973, which legalized abortion at the federal level in the United States, would be more important than expected, said researcher Rachel Jones, co-author of the study.
“In the 20-odd years I’ve been researching abortion at Guttmacher, this is the first time we’ve had an increase in abortion in two years,” Jones said in an interview.
In 2020, according to the report, there were 930,160 abortions in the United States, up from 862,320 in 2017. Slightly more than one in five pregnancies – or 20.6% – ended in abortion in 2020 , compared to 18.4% in 2017.
The changes varied by state. Mississippi, for example, saw a 40% increase in the number of abortions performed, while Oklahoma saw a 103% jump over the three-year period.
In comparison, abortions in Missouri fell 96% from 4,710 in 2017 to 170 in 2020, with all but one provider leaving the state. Neighboring Illinois showed a 25% increase in abortions, indicating that women in Missouri may have sought abortions there.
It was not immediately clear what led to the increase in abortions. One factor may have been the expansion of coverage in many states under the Medicaid program, which provides health care to poor and low-income Americans, the report said.
Another possibility is that some women lost access to contraceptive care due to government program restrictions during Republican Donald Trump’s presidency, which could have led to more unintended pregnancies, the report said.
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The pandemic has not been a major factor in unplanned pregnancies or abortions, Jones said. However, as COVID-19 cases flooded New York, many clinics reduced their hours of operation, possibly reducing access to abortion and resulting in a smaller increase in the state than in others. other parts of the country over three years.
In Texas, conservative lawmakers deemed abortion a non-essential service during the height of the pandemic, leading to a slight drop in 2020 from the previous year. Over the three years, however, abortions in Texas increased by 5%.
In 2021, Texas enacted a law banning abortion after fetal heart activity is detected, usually about six weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. The law has led many women to seek abortions in other states.
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