Nov 27, 2019

CDC: Abortions are steadily dropping in the U.S.

Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Axios Visuals

Women ages 15 to 44 years old received abortions at a lower rate from 2015 to 2016, data released Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

The big picture: Many red state lawmakers have been challenging abortion rights by passing six-week "heartbeat" bans with no exceptions for rape or incest. Meanwhile, many progressive states are loosening restrictions on abortions for later-term pregnancies.

By the numbers: Abortions reported to the CDC have been trending downward since the mid-2000s, a 45% drop between 2007 and 2016. 623,471 abortions were reported in 2016.

  • Analyses from 48 reporting areas shows both the total number of abortions and the rate dropped 2%, respectively from 2015 to 2016.
  • There's been an increase in contraceptives among all women and specifically adolescents, particularly intrauterine devices and hormonal implants. Researchers cannot conclude if this timing coincides with the decrease in abortions, however.
  • Most women who received abortions were in their 20s, with 30% of all abortions performed on women ages 20 to 24. Teenagers were the smallest pool.

Of note: Reporting was voluntary and therefore the CDC was unable to obtain the total number of abortions in the U.S.

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Where abortion restrictions stand: The states that have passed laws

Anti-abortion protest. Photo: SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

The most restrictive abortion laws in generations are being challenged in courts across America's red states, setting up what could be a precedent-smashing Supreme Court challenge to the abortion status quo.

Driving the news: Mississippi's fetal heartbeat law was struck down on Friday, after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 15-week abortion ban was unconstitutional, per AP. The Center for Reproductive Rights, who challenged the ban in court, called the ruling "the first of the recent bans to reach a federal appellate court."

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 14, 2019

Supreme Court leaves in place Kentucky law requiring ultrasounds before abortions

The Supreme Court building on Nov. 14. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a Kentucky law mandating that doctors show and describe ultrasound images and play an audible heartbeat of the fetus to patients seeking abortions, NBC News reports.

The big picture: The court declined to hear an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of Kentucky's lone abortion clinic. The ACLU argued the statute's only purpose is to coerce a patient into opting out of having an abortion, while defenders said it helps people make a well-informed decision.

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Mississippi governor promises to persist in abortion battle

Pro-life activist outside of Mississippi's last abortion clinic. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Mississippi's outgoing Gov. Phil Bryant tweeted on Saturday that he will continue "to fight for America‚Äôs unborn children. Mississippi will continue this mission to the United States Supreme Court."

Why now: Bryant's promise comes one day after a federal appeals court ruled that the state's ban on abortions at 15 weeks is unconstitutional, AP reports. Bryant hopes to take the case to the Supreme Court, like many Republicans across the country, where new conservative justices could possibly overturn Roe v. Wade.

Go deeperArrowDec 14, 2019