The U.S. Abortion Rate is at its Lowest Numbers Since 1973

Abortion protestors (FIUsm)

WASHINGTON – JANUARY 22: Pro-choice advocates participate in protest in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building January 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. Activists from across the nation gathered to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which decriminalized abortion in all fifty states. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)Abortion protestors (FIUsm)

A recent study released by the Guttmacher Institute found that the U.S. abortion rate has fallen to its lowest rate since 1973.

The study claims that in 2014, the abortion rate is 14.6 abortions per ever 1K women of childbearing age (defined as ages 15-44). The rate peaked at 29.3 abortions per 1K women in 1980-1981. In 2013, the abortion rate “fell below 1M for the first time since the 1970s.”

Number of abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 (The Guttmacher Institute/NPR)

Number of abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 (The Guttmacher Institute/NPR)

The study also found that 12% of clinics had at least one patient who tried to self-induce her abortion. There was no correlation between the closing of abortion clinics and more restrictive abortion laws by state. In areas where more abortion clinics opened, there was not a higher abortion rate.

There appears to be a substitution effect at work, with other birth control methods taking the place of abortion. Most notable is that of the intrauterine device (IUD), which has gained in usage over the past several years.

But why 1973? 1973 was the seminal year where the U.S. Supreme Court handed down their decision on Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. It’s a good sign that women are using more birth control methods and not having to rely on abortion to get rid of unintended pregnancies.

The HPV Vaccine Reduces the STD in Teen Girls by 64%

HPV vaccine (The Guardian UK)

HPV vaccine (The Guardian UK)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI), and it’s estimated that most sexually active adults will get it at some point in their lives.

Fortunately, there’s a way to prevent the spread with the HPV vaccine. The vaccine has been around for ten years, so it’s a great time to amass some longitudinal data.

Just how effective is the HPV vaccine?

Earlier this year, “Pediatrics” released a study examining just that. Researchers looked at the HPV vaccine in teenage girls ages 14-19, and women ages 20-24. Effectiveness in the latter category resulted in a 34% decrease of the virus. That’s impressive, right? Effectiveness for teenage girls hovers around a 64% decrease. This thing is mad effective.

Obviously, the data shows that it’s best to get the HPV vaccine early in life. But unfortunately, the vaccine isn’t as widely known or used as it should be. Right now, only around 40% of teenage girls and 20% of teenage boys get the vaccine. (Yes, the vaccine is recommended for boys too.)

Getting the vaccine has ramifications beyond one’s teenage years: The virus can cause health issues such as genital warts and cancers affecting the genital areas. The HPV virus is particularly responsible for cervical cancer, which affects around 11K+ women a year.

Hopefully this data will persuade others to make getting the vaccine a top priority.