- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 27, 2018

I don’t know any woman who’s ever dreamed of growing up and having an abortion — no, not even any of the furthest left of leftists females who populated the liberal la-la-enclave of Massachusetts I once called home.

So it’s with utter nonpartisan cheer that federal statistics showing the falling rate of abortions in the United States ought to be received.

Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, progressives, socialists and anyone between — headlines like this, from Time, simply have to be well-received: “US Abortion Rates Hit Historic Low, CDC Reports.”

Or like this, from The Washington Post: “Number of abortions in U.S. hit historic low on 2015, the most recent year for which data is available.”

Or from U.S. News & World Report, in yet another: “Abortions Down 24 Percent Over a Decade in U.S.”

Of course, statistics can be misleading.

And indeed, peel back the layers on these latest stats and some of the good news gets tarnished.

But what remains is still cause for clapping. After all, as the politicians like to say, if even one life is saved, then the [insert here] will be worthwhile.

By the numbers: “A total of 638,169 abortions for 2015 were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. Among these 49 reporting areas, the abortion rate for 2015 as 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years … From 2014 to 2015, the total number of reported abortions decreased 2% (from 652,639) … From 2006 to 2015, the total number of reported abortions decreased 24% (from 842,855) [and] the abortion rate decreased 26% (from 15.9 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years),” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

In fact, in terms of total numbers, rates and ratios — the number of abortions per 1,000 live births — “all three measures reached their lowest level for the entire period of analysis,” 2006 to 2015, CDC found.

Now for the loopholes.

California, Maryland and New Hampshire abortions stats aren’t included in this latest CDC report. That certainly impacts the findings.

All 50 states used to report abortion figures to the CDC; in 1998, however, California as well as some other states failed to send in their figures. Predictably enough, abortion rates reported by the feds fell that year.

The CDC isn’t the only outlet that collects abortion figures, however.

In other words, just because California, New Hampshire and Maryland stopped reporting abortions to the CDC, doesn’t mean the figures aren’t available elsewhere.

So: Even after adjusting for these states, the latest headlines about decreasing abortions in the United States indeed bear truth.

“The U.S. has seen a steady and significant drop in the number of abortions in recent years. In 2014, the number of abortions was at its lowest since 1976 — and had dropped almost in half in the last 20 years,” the very pro-life Focus on the Family wrote. If any organization would be up on the negatives of abortions and abortion figures, it’d be Focus on the Family. Translation: If this group is reporting a halving of abortions, you can believe the numbers are true-blue.

Still, let’s not crack the champagne bottles just yet.

America’s head-hanging reality is that since 1973, this country has recorded more than 55 million abortions.

More than 55 million lives lost.

More than 55 million souls kept from carrying out their God-given purposes.

And of course, the pro-abortion, anti-abortion — or pro-choice, pro-life, however you choose to frame it — fight continues, potentially growing even more heated in the coming months as Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh gets in the swing and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg struggles with her health.

But for now, for right for this moment, for even for this no-doubt very short blip in time, Americans of all political walks, of all social and cultural and religious beliefs, can come together on this one basic fact — that abortion, for whatever the reasons, has been declining in this country. We can come together and agree: That’s a good thing.

Democrats, Republicans, what have you. We finally have an issue upon which we can all join in cheer.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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