As pro-life demonstrators conduct their annual March for Life event in Washington, D.C., today to protest the 32nd anniversary of the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision, a new study was released showing the procedure is increasingly being used as birth control by women who have had live births before.

According to a study by Janice Shaw Crouse of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, abortion is no longer represented by a frightened young teenager faced with a first pregnancy. Instead, Crouse reports teen abortions are declining, while abortion is increasingly being used as a method of birth control among women beyond their teen years.

Women over age 25 are having the largest share of abortions, the report states. Also, the number of women having repeat abortions is increasing (some with four or more), and more abortions are being performed on women who have previously had a live birth.

The report finds while abortion is up among older women, due to the decline among teens, the total number of abortions per year has declined.

“After the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the number of abortions increased dramatically, and then remained consistently high throughout the 1980s at over 1.55 million abortions annually,” writes Crouse. “Finally, in 1990 the number of annual abortions reached a high of 1.6 million. The trend then reversed and a significant decline followed throughout the 1990s. The total number of abortions declined by nearly 300,000 during that decade (a 19 percent decrease), reaching a new low of 1.31 million in 2000.”

The analysis points out teenage abortions are less than one-fifth of the total:

“Teenage abortions now are less than one-fifth, 19 percent, of the total number. Women over age 20 get 80 percent of all abortions with nearly half (48 percent) going to women age 25 and older.”

The report takes a look at the number of repeat abortions, finding a steady increase over the years.

“The number of women having repeat abortions is increasing,” states the analysis. “As time has passed from the imposition of abortion, two related but countervailing trends have emerged. The number of women who choose abortion for the first time has decreased very steadily. However, the number of repeat abortions has been increasing.

“In the early 1980s, about one-third of abortions were performed on women who had previously had an abortion. By the late ’90s, more than 45 percent of abortions were being performed on women who had had previous ones.”

The report also highlights the fact that women who have had live births are now a higher percentage of those having abortions.

Writes Crouse: “Abortions being performed on women who have previously had a live birth are increasing. From less than 42 percent in 1980, the share of abortions accounted for by women with children increased to 60 percent of the total by 2000. Women who had not previously had a live birth accounted for 90 percent of the decline in the number of abortions from 1990 to 2000, even though this category accounted for less than half of all abortions in 1990. To put it another way: Women aborting their first pregnancy now account for only 40 percent of all abortions.”

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