The rates of pregnancy and abortion among young women — especially Black women — have been political fodder for many years and trotted out during election cycles as pro-choice and anti-choice activists respectively fight for more sex education and abstinence warnings.
Though politicians continue to try to legislate a woman’s uterus, a report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that both pregnancy and abortion statistics for women in their ’20s are at a much lower rate than they were in the ’90s — proving that women are doing an excellent job making decisions about their personal reproductive health all on their own.
The report from the National Center for Health Statistics stated that in 2008, the pregnancy rate for the 20 to 24 age group was 163 per 1,000 women. By comparison, in 1990 that demographic had a pregnancy rate of 198.5 per 1,000, which was nearly 18 percent higher than in 2008.
Pregnancy rates for women between the ages of 25 and 29 fell a more modest 6 percent during the same time period, to 167.9 per 1,000, according to statistics in the report.
The abortion rate also declined among women in their early 20s, to 38.4 per 1,000 women in 2008 from 56.7 per 1,000 in 1990, the report said. That represented a drop of 32 percent.
Again, the drop was more modest for women in their late 20s, as their abortion rate fell to 28.6 per 1,000 in 2008, from 33.9 per 1,000 in 1990, the report said.
A report by the Guttmacher Institute released in February, based on government statistics, showed the teen abortion rate was down 59 percent in 2008 compared with 1988, and that in 2008 the teen pregnancy rate had fallen 42 percent compared to 1990.
The new report extends some of those trends to women who are beyond their teenage years.
“It’s not just the teens. Abortion rates are down across the board,” said Stephanie Ventura, an author of the National Center for Health Statistics report, which is titled “Estimated Pregnancy Rates and Rates of Pregnancy Outcomes for the United States, 1990-2008.”
Specific to Black women, a 2011 Guttmacher Institute reports that abortion rates decreased 18% among African American women between 2000-2008, “the largest decline among the four racial and ethnic groups examined.”
“If the pregnancy rates are down, including both births and abortion rates, that would show more efforts to prevent unwanted pregnancies,” said Ventura.