Top Pro & Con Arguments
Increased access to birth control, health insurance, and sexual education would make abortion unnecessary.
Abortion rates in the United States have fallen at what the CDC called a “slow yet steady pace” since a peak in 1981. That year there were 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44. The rate fell to 11.4 abortions per 1,000 women in 2019.
Experts largely contribute the decline in abortions in the United States and elsewhere to the improved safety and availability of LARC (long-acting reversible contraception) including IUDs and contraceptive implants that can last up to 10 years.
Access to health insurance to pay for contraceptives also contributed to a drop in abortions. With the passage of Obamacare (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), more people were insured with access to free or low-cost contraceptives and reproductive care.
Linda Rosenstock, Public Health Professor of Health Policy and Management at UCLA, summarized the simplicity of the connection: “In the United States each year, about half of pregnancies are unintended and about 40% of those lead to abortion. Access to birth control leads to fewer abortions.”
Further, teens are having sex later in life than their parents. 38.4% of American high schoolers reported they have had sex (down from 54% in 1991) and only 27.4% reported they were currently sexually active (37.5% in 1991).
Because teen birth control use has not increased significantly, experts attribute the decline in part to better sex education. A 2021 study found that students who received comprehensive sexual education initiated sex later than students who did not participate in sex ed. The later teens have sex, the less chance there is for them to become pregnant unintentionally, which leads to fewer abortions.
Historically, abortion was a popular means of birth control and family planning due to a lack of reliable contraception, education, and other resources, and the fact that childbirth was incredibly dangerous. Better options are now available, including more effective birth control, better healthcare and health insurance, and sex education to ensure an unwanted pregnancy does not happen in the first place.Read More