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CDC: Abortion Rates Fall to Lowest Rates in 10 Years

GOP continues assault on women's rights

Common Dreams staff

(Photo: ThinkProgress)

Although the Centers for Disease Control reported Friday that abortion rates in the US had fallen to an all-time low, anti-choice activists continue their siege against a woman's right to the procedure.

According to the CDC, abortion rates fell 5 percent between 2008 and 2009—the most recent years for which statistics are available—which is the largest decline in a decade, The Washington Post reports.

But Wisconsin abortion opponents today announced that they would step up their advocacy for stricter regulations on abortion, including a mandate that women requesting abortions watch an ultrasound of the fetus, the Badger Herald reports.

Wisconsin Right to Life also indicates it would end abortions based on sex selection and that would cause fetal pain, according to statements from the organization.

Proposed legislation would hold the mother liable in the case of sex-selection abortion.

Rep. Kelda Roys, D-Madison, said Wisconsin already heavily restricts access to abortion for women and additional restrictions would not reduce the number of women that will request abortions, the Badger Herald reports.

She continued:

Roys said instead, conservative legislators should be working, as she has, to increase accessibility of contraception and sexual education. She said this would reduce the need for abortions and the “extreme, out of step” proposals that are being presented by Wisconsin Right to Life. 

Roys said the Legislature can then devote more time to the economy instead of social issues.

“We can finally start to get the Wisconsin economy moving, instead of focusing on anti-choice legislation,” Roys said. “Wisconsin should be working towards ensuring citizens have the jobs necessary to support their families.”

The attack on women's rights also continues in Ohio, where a proposed bill would have ended a "heartbeat" abortion bill. That bill was killed Tuesday after Republican Senate President Tom Niehaus said it might have been found to be unconstitutional, CBS reports.

That bill would have banned abortions after the first fetal heartbeat was detected, as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. It divided the state's anti-choice community.

"Backers hoped the stringent nature of the bill would provoke a legal challenge with the potential to overturn the US Supreme Court's 1973 Roe V. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until viability, usually at 22 to 24 weeks," CBS reports. But the measure stalled in both chambers after contentious testimony.

Of the decreased abortion rates cited by the CDC, researchers suggest that the decline is due to more effective contraceptives and increased use by women. Other theories suggest the recession leads Americans to be more careful with family planning.

Research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, however, indicates that women are using more long-lasting methods such as IUDs, which have higher efficacy rates than birth control pills.

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