Abortions Increase in the United States After 30-Year Decline, New Report Says

Data from the Guttmacher Institute shows an 8% increase in abortions in the United States just as the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade

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For the first time in 30 years, the number of abortions in the United States has increased, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Guttmacher Institute.

The report reveals an 8% increase in abortions since data was last collected in 2017, rising from 862,320 abortions to 930,160 abortions in 2020. In 2020, about one in five pregnancies ended in abortion and the abortion ratio — the number of abortions per 100 pregnancies — increased from 18.4% in 2017 to 20.6% in 2020, a 12% increase, per Guttmacher.

Additionally, there was a 6% decrease in births between 2017 and 2020.

"The long-term decline in abortion is over, and the number of abortions in the United States is actually increasing," said Rachel Jones, research scientist who co-authored an analysis of the data for Guttmacher, NPR reports. "The need for abortion is growing at a time when the Supreme Court is getting ready to strike down Roe v. Wade."

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The Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which guaranteed the right to abortion.

The process of attempting to overturn Roe v. Wade began when Mississippi's ban on abortions after 15 weeks was struck down by a federal court. The state then asked the Supreme Court to either overturn Roe v. Wade or allow states to pass pre-viability abortion bans. Oral arguments were heard in December and a decision is expected this month.

Abortion rights advocates' fears became a reality on May 2, when a leaked draft opinion showed that a majority of the Supreme Court intends to vote to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. In the draft opinion — which Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed to be authentic — Justice Samuel Alito writes that "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," and it "must be overruled."

Now, Alito, who is joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett in the opinion, says that "it is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives."

The decision is not final, and abortions are still legal across the United States. But many conservative-led states have already put in place abortion restrictions, and clinics in some states have stopped performing abortions.

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