MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota's abortion rate has fallen to one of its lowest levels in the 30 years since it was legalized, according to a report by a national research group. The drop mirrors a national trend.
The report, released a week before the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, found that about 2 percent of American women aged 15 to 44 had an abortion in the year 2000, down from a peak of 2.9 percent in 1980.
In Minnesota, about 1.35 percent of women in that age group had abortions in 2000, down from a high of 2 percent in 1980, according to the report by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a New York research group focused on sexuality and reproductive health.
Experts speculate that the drop was caused in part by more use of the morning-after pill as well as more choices of birth control methods.
"I think we're also seeing fewer unintended pregnancies in young people because of the fear of HIV" and other infections, said Dr. Mildred Hanson, a Minneapolis gynecologist.
Although the abortion rate in Minnesota is lower than the national average, the trend has been similar -- building in the 1970s, peaking around 1980 and dropping throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
By 1999, the rate in Minnesota had dropped to 13.4 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age, even lower than the 1974 rate of 13.7, the Guttmacher report showed. The rate for 2000 rose slightly to 13.5.
However, abortion opponents say the most recent statistics, compiled by the state Health Department, show that abortions are on the increase again in Minnesota. In a news release last month, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life said the 2001 total, 14,833, was "the highest number of abortions in Minnesota since 1992." Officials from the organization called it a troubling trend that must be reversed.
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