The U.S. abortion rate has fallen dramatically in recent years, but the procedure continues to be common: One in four women will have an abortion by 45, according to a report published in the American Journal of Public Health on Thursday.
Researchers used data from three surveys, two conducted by the federal government and the third by the Guttmacher Institute, to estimate abortion rates. They found that in 2008, there were 19.4 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. By 2014, the number had dropped to 14.6 per 1,000.
The period between 2008 and 2014 was an unusually turbulent one for women’s reproductive rights in America. Numerous states — including Indiana, Kansas, Texas and North Carolina — enacted new restrictions, waiting periods or mandatory ultrasounds for women considering abortions in those states. In other parts of the country, the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion helped women who might not otherwise have been able to get an abortion get insurance coverage for one.
Experts suggest the decline in abortion rates is largely due to improved access to contraception as well as wider use of more reliable contraception methods.