The Alan Guttmacher Institute has just released its report on abortion statistics for the years 2004-2005: Abortion in the United States: Incidence and Access to Services, 2005. The last time this report was released was in 2003 for the years 1999-2000. Overall, the picture looks good. Abortions and abortion providers are still on the decline. Here are some important snippets from the report:

Total number of abortions

“The number of abortions in the United States declined from 1.61 million (the all-time high) in 1990 to 1.31 million in 2000. Similarly, the abortion rate declined from 27 per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 1990 to 21 per 1,000 in 2000, a level comparable to levels of the mid-1970s.”

“An estimated 1.2 million abortions were performed in the United States in 2005, 8% fewer than in 2000. The abortion rate in 2005 was 19.4 per 1,000 women aged 15–44; this rate represents a 9% decline from 2000.”

“Abortion rates declined faster between 2000 and 2005 than they had between 1996 and 2000 (5%). The abortion ratio indicates that 22% of pregnancies (excluding those ending in miscarriages) ended in abortion in 2005.”

Abortion providers

“There were 1,787 abortion providers in 2005, only 2% fewer than in 2000. … Indeed, if not for new providers offering only early medication abortion, the total number of providers would have decreased by 8% instead of 2% between 2000 and 2005.”

Number of medication (as opposed to surgical) abortions

“Early medication abortion, offered by an estimated 57% of known providers, accounted for 13% of abortions (and for 22% of abortions before nine weeks’ gestation).”

Legal restrictions on abortion are partially credited for slowing the abortion rate

“At the same time, during the last several years, a number of states have implemented restrictions that may have made it more difficult for women to access abortion services and for physicians to perform abortions. For example, between 2000 and 2004, five states enacted laws that impose burdens on abortion providers. These restrictions range from requiring abortions after 15 weeks to be provided in a licensed surgical center to requiring providers to have expensive ultrasound equipment on-site.”