A 1 in 3 lifetime chance
of having an abortion? No way!
Today's girls have much better things to look forward to.
Many abortion activist groups claim that
one out of every three women in the United
States will have an abortion in her lifetime.
That supposed statistic is inaccurate.
All sources trace back to a single study
from 2011. But that study doesn't actually
support the abortion activists' claims.
Furthermore, the study relied on old data
that is now completely outdated.
Above: Still from an Elle magazine activist video claiming that one third of American women have aborted.
Thanks to fewer unplanned pregnancies, and improved
resources for women who do have an unplanned
pregnancy, abortion in America is declining dramatically.
Yesterday's abortion statistics are not ironclad rules that dictate the lives of tomorrow's young women. In the mid-1990s, abortion researchers predicted that nearly half of American women would have an abortion at some point in their lives. Thankfully, that prediction turned out to be wrong.
This history demonstrates that Americans can successfully come together to prevent abortions, and that's exactly what is happening. When looking at abortion statistics in context, it is readily apparent that the "1 in 3" claim is inflated. That's great news for everyone, pro-life or pro-choice, who cares about young women in America.
No one could have known it at the time,
but the study was obsolete from the moment it was published.
Abortion statistics are always a few years behind. That's why the Jones & Kavanaugh study, which was published in 2011, contained an analysis of data only as recent as 2008. It wasn't until three years after the study was published that reliable numbers were available through 2011. In 2014, Dr. Jones revealed the stunning news: between 2008 and 2011, abortion rates plummeted to the lowest level recorded since Roe v. Wade.
The 2011 study's prediction that 3 in 10 American women would have an abortion came with an important caveat; it only applied if American women were "exposed to prevailing abortion rates throughout their reproductive lives." Instead, there were almost 165,000 fewer abortions in 2011 than there were in 2008.
The positive trend shows no signs of stopping. Although reliable post-2011 abortion statistics are not yet available, we know that dozens of abortion businesses across the country have closed since 2011. And it's happening even in blue states with few abortion restrictions. With a record-low abortion rate, there simply isn't sufficient demand to keep abortion doctors in business.
The "1 in 3" study that wasn't
The study most activist groups cite in order to justify the "1 in 3" statistic is Changes in Abortion Rates Between 2000 and 2008 and Lifetime Incidence of Abortion, published in 2011 by Dr. Rachel K. Jones and Dr. Megan L. Kavanaugh. It states:
The cumulative first-abortion rate increases with age, and women aged 40 and older had a rate of 300.9 per 1,000 women. Put differently, an estimated 30.1% of women aged 15–44 in 2008 will have an abortion by age 45 if exposed to prevailing abortion rates throughout their reproductive lives.
The lifetime abortion rate given by the study is approximately 3 in 10, not 1 in 3. But the authors caution us that even the lower figure of 3 in 10 may be overstated:
Considering the substantial changes in abortion rates observed among young women, African American women, and poor women, abortion rates were calculated to determine potential interactions among these groups. Because some of these subgroups are relatively small and because the confidence intervals suggest some degree of inaccuracy, these findings are best interpreted as general patterns as opposed to precise measures.
Jones and Kavanaugh were honest about their findings. Unfortunately, however, there's nothing they can do to stop activist groups from misusing the study.