Protests like the one at Planned Parenthood in Decatur are designed to prevent people from receiving access to necessary health care, and may actually increase abortion. Research from the Guttmacher Institute examining trends in abortion incidence and rates between 2014 and 2017 found that America’s abortion rate has dropped to its lowest ever. You can read the full report and examine the data at guttmacher.org.
The report estimates that there were about 862,000 abortions in the United States in 2017, nearly 200,000 fewer than in 2011. The abortion rate — the number of abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age — dropped to 13.5 in 2017 from 16.9 in 2011, the lowest rate since abortion became legal nationwide in 1973. One interesting note is that in four states where new abortion restrictions also reduced access to basic reproductive care and contraception, abortion rates actually rose, rather than declined, in that period.
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The report also suggests that one reason for the decrease may be that long-term contraceptives are now mandated to be covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act. One place people can receive those contraceptives is Planned Parenthood, an organization that is often targeted by protests and prayer meant to harass people who need access to their services.
I switched my own well-woman care to Planned Parenthood in 2019, because their ease of access and competent, compassionate providers are unmatched in Central Illinois.
I suggest that if people would like to keep abortion rates dropping, they support groups like Planned Parenthood that educate people and provide access to contraceptives and quality health care, rather than actively try to interfere with the work they do.
Jenny Lokshin, Champaign
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