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Report: Abortion Rates Drop Dramatically In MO

PHOTO: Wider access to affordable birth control, including birth control pills, is among the factors researchers say contributed to a decline in abortion rates in Missouri from 2008-2011. Photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood.
PHOTO: Wider access to affordable birth control, including birth control pills, is among the factors researchers say contributed to a decline in abortion rates in Missouri from 2008-2011. Photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood.
February 5, 2014

ST. LOUIS - Abortion rates across the nation have dropped to their lowest rates since the procedure was legalized in all 50 states in 1973, according to a new study which suggests that wider access to birth control is helping to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies.

In Missouri, abortion rates declined 21 percent from 2008 to 2011, which comes as no surprise to Paula Gianino, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

"During these three years, we made birth control more affordable and more accessible,” she said. “That's the biggest cause for the drop in the abortion rates, by helping women prevent unintended pregnancy."

The study from the Guttmacher Institute also found that the pregnancy rate also has declined to the lowest level in 12 years. Nationally, abortions were down 13 percent, according to the report.

Gianino said this news comes as some politicians and groups are trying to make it harder to get birth control by chipping away at the portion of the Affordable Care Act that requires insurance plans to cover birth control without a copay.

"Forty-six million women in America would have a benefit that they've never had before,” she said, “which will have a significant impact on helping us continue to reduce unintended pregnancy."

The report also noted that the economy may have played a role in the declining abortion rates, as people tend to adhere more strictly to their birth control during tough economic times.

The report is online at guttmacher.org.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO