Still, the report shows that women are choosing life. It mentions that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2010 goal, established in 2000, to reduce unintended pregnancies was not met (the rate between 2001 and 2008 increased from 48 percent to 51 percent).
The report also notes that the number of women with unintended pregnancies choosing abortion dropped from 47 percent to 40 percent in the same time period. It speculates over whether abortion access is the reason.
The entire report struggles to find reasons other than the influence of pro-life messages and policies to explain the decrease in abortion. The authors are unwilling to admit that the answer could be as simple as American women not needing or turning away from abortion.
The Guttmacher report glaringly omits the Healthy People 2010 final review showing abstinence programs are exceeding expectations. The review indicates that the goals for reducing teenage pregnancy during the period 2006 through 2008 almost hit the 100 percent mark.
Teen pregnancy, which peaked in 1996 at 63 per 1,000 women, now hovers around 40. Girls under age 15 exceeded their abstinence goal by 14.3 percent, while under-15 boys only achieved 66.7 percent of their goal. Girls ages 15-17 reached almost 77 percent of the goal, and boys reached almost 78 percent.
The Guttmacher report notes a 13 percent decline in both the number and rate of abortions after 2011. The institute claims the new laws couldn’t have been responsible for the abortion decline because they weren’t in place before 2011.
While acknowledging that changes in sexual activity influence abortion rates, Guttmacher credits better contraceptive use for the drop in abortion and neglects to mention the data attesting to the effectiveness of abstinence programs, especially for girls.
While soft-pedaling the facts, Guttmacher’s latest report clearly shows that new pro-life laws, strong pro-life messages and effective abstinence education are related to the decline in abortions.
Brenda Zurita is research fellow for Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute.