Five theories for the record-low US abortion rate

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Abortion rates have fallen to their lowest level since the pregnancy-terminating procedure was legalised in a 1973 Supreme Court decision, according to a new report. But experts say the reason for the decline can be hard to isolate.

The study released on Wednesday by the Guttmacher Institute – a research organisation that supports abortion access – found a 7% decline from 2014 to 2017.

In 2017, around 862,320 abortions were performed, the group estimates – nearly 200,000 fewer than in 2011 and down from a high of 1.6m in 1990.

Despite nearly a decade of efforts by conservative state and county politicians to restrict abortion access, Guttmacher says the decline is not necessarily linked to new laws.

Better reproductive healthcare

The authors of the Guttmacher report – which is periodically compiled based on hospital and abortion clinic surveys – found that one reason for the decrease could be due to better access to contraception and improvement in female contraception devices.

Intrauterine devices and implants have improved in the past decade and are increasingly covered by insurance companies due to the 2009 Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

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