By Carol Pipes
Abortions are declining in the U.S. both in states with legislation to restrict abortion as well as states where abortion is easily accessible, according to Associated Press.
Several of the states that have been most aggressive in passing “pro-life” laws — including Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma — have seen their abortion numbers drop by more than 15 percent since 2010, AP reports. But states such as New York, Washington, and Oregon also had declines of that magnitude, even as they maintained unrestricted access to abortion.
Nationwide, the AP survey showed a decrease in abortions of about 12 percent since 2010.
Explanations for the drop vary including new laws that require longer waiting periods and restrict late-term abortions, access to contraceptives, more women choosing to carry their pregnancies to term, and a drop in the teen pregnancy rate.
The only states with significant abortion increases since 2010 are Louisiana and Michigan, both of which have passed laws intended to restrict abortion. Some say the increase in these two states is due to women in neighboring states— Texas and Ohio respectively—crossing state lines to receive abortions.
For the first time in seven years, those who identify as pro-choice reached 50 percent, according to the Gallup 2015 Values and Beliefs poll. Half of Americans are now pro-choice, surpassing the 44 percent who identify as pro-life.
For most of the past five years, Americans have been almost evenly divided between pro-life and pro-choice, except in 2012 when pro-lifers numbered 50 percent as compared to 41 percent pro-choice, Gallup reported.
Americans are evenly split on whether they believe abortion is generally morally acceptable (45 percent) or morally wrong (45 percent).
Among other results of the poll, 54 percent of women identify themselves as pro-choice, compared to 46 percent of men.
Almost half (47 percent) of Americans 55 and older identify as pro-choice compared to 52 percent among 35- to 55-year-olds and 53 percent among younger Americans (18-34).
CAROL PIPES (@CarolPipes) is editor of Facts & Trends.