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A study released Tuesday found the number of abortions in Ohio and nationwide fell from 2011 to 2014, noting the rate of abortions across the U.S. reached a historic low.
Nationally, the study by the Guttmacher Institute recorded 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, lower than the rate of 16.3 recorded in 1973. That total has been on a fairly steady decline since about 1980. The national abortion rate was down 14% from 2011, the study found.
In Ohio, the report found the number of abortions fell from 28,590 in 2011 to 22,730 in 2014. The rate fell from 12.9 abortions per 1,000 in 2011 to 10.3 in 2014.
While the study didn’t directly research the reasons behind the decline, the researchers suggested a number of causes, including the improved use of contraceptives and more abortion restrictions at the state level reducing the number of clinics and abortion facilities.
“Abortion restrictions and clinic closures mean that patients may need to travel greater distances to access services,” Rachel Jones, lead author of the study, said in a statement. “The majority of abortion patients – 75% – are poor or low-income, and nearly two-thirds are already parents. It can be very difficult for them to arrange for time off from work, transportation and child care. While many find ways to access care despite these obstacles, some of the abortion rate decline is likely attributable to women who were prevented from accessing needed services.”
Ohio had 26 abortion-providing facilities and 18 clinics in 2011, falling to 17 facilities and 12 clinics in 2014, the report found. The study found 56% of Ohio women live in a county without an abortion clinic.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said the report highlights different issues for policymakers to consider. The increased use of contraceptives, particularly IUDs and other long-acting contraceptives, reduced the unintended pregnancy rate, lowering the rate of abortions.
The shrinking number of abortion clinics, meanwhile, shows how policymakers have limited access to care, she said.
“As we move into 2017, politicians must not attack access to reproductive healthcare services by continuing efforts to defund Planned Parenthood or to roll back the gains we made under the Affordable Care Act,” Ms. Copeland said in a statement. “Time and time again, Governor Kasich and the Ohio legislature have put politics ahead of the health and wellbeing of women, with complete disregard for the impacts these policies will have. Congress and the Ohio legislature need to focus not on continuing these attacks, but on finding real solutions that improve health and improve a woman’s ability to make the best reproductive health decision for her.”
Katie Franklin, spokeswoman for Ohio Right to Life, said the report reflects the results of a strategy to end abortion through incremental policies.
“This life-saving trend is consistent with what we have seen in Ohio where abortions have declined 25% in the last five years,” she said in an email. “As abortion facilities close and we enact more protections for pre-born children, we can see the long-term impact of the incremental strategy to ending abortion. Horrifically, there were still over 900,000 abortions in 2014. We have a long way to go in protecting every innocent human life from the suctions and curettes of the abortion industry, but year by year, we are having an impact. Ohio Right to Life is proud to be a part of this important national trend.”