A report released on Tuesday showed that the number of abortions in the U.S. has reached its lowest level since 1974, the year after the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion. According to the new report, released by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, abortions in the U.S. declined significantly in 2014 compared with the group’s latest study conducted three years earlier. The Guttmacher Institute estimated that women in the U.S. underwent 926,200 abortions in 2014, or about 4.6 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. That’s good for a more than 12 percent drop over 2011. Abortion numbers haven’t been as low as they are now since the year abortion became legal. The Guttmacher Institute is the only group in the U.S. that has complete research for abortion totals nationwide. Even the federal government falls short, with incomplete data in California, Maryland and New Hampshire. Abortions in the U.S. hit a high of 1.6 million in 1990.
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Rachel Jones and Jenna Jerman, the Guttmacher researchers who conducted the latest research, said two primary factors likely behind the latest decline in abortions are increased availability of affordable and effective contraception that has resulted in a reduction of unintended pregnancies, and increasing restrictions enacted by many states that have forced some abortion clinics to close and made it more difficult for women to seek out the procedure. Another likely factor bringing the number down, according to The Los Angeles Times, has been Obamacare, which has helped increase access to birth control for women. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are systematically dismantling Obamacare and working to defund Planned Parenthood. Just last week, the Senate voted to pass budget measures that laid the groundwork for the repeal of Obamacare, and in the process voted against provisions introduced by Democrats that would keep health insurance for birth control even if Obamacare is done away with.