Ananat said another factor may be the growing use of the morning-after pill, a form of emergency contraception that has been increasingly easier to get. It came onto the market in 1999 and in 2006 was approved for non-prescription sale to women 18 and older. In 2009 that was lowered to 17.
Underlying all this may be the economy, which was in recession from December 2007 until June 2009. Even well afterward, polls showed most Americans remained worried about anemic hiring, a depressed housing market and other problems.
You might think a bad economy would lead to more abortions by women who are struggling. However, John Santelli, a Columbia University professor of population and family health, said: “The economy seems to be having a fundamental effect on pregnancies, not abortions.”
More findings from the CDC:
— The majority of abortions are performed by the eighth week of pregnancy, when the fetus is about the size of a lima bean.
— White women had the lowest abortion rate, at about 8.5 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age; the rate for black women was about four times that. The rate for Hispanic women was about 19 per 1,000.
— About 85 percent of those who got abortions were unmarried.
— The CDC identified 12 abortion-related deaths in 2009.