While the percentage of abortions in the United States declined by 14 percent in the years 2011-2014, North Carolina’s rates increased by 3 percent, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute.
The study, conducted every three years, aims to inform people of abortion policies to help decrease the number of unintended pregnancies. Recent data shows the abortion rate is at the lowest level nationally recorded since abortion became legal in 1973.
Rachel Jones, lead author of the study, said it did not look for causes of the decline, but available evidence shows there were two contributing factors — increased use of contraceptives and state restrictions on abortion.
“There are some indications that women and couples were doing a better job at using contraceptives; in particular, that there were more women using long-acting methods such as IUD (intrauterine devices),” Jones said.
But a declining abortion rate could also be an impact of state and federal restrictions on abortion clinics, which might lead to more women having unintended pregnancies, she said.