Why Are Abortion Clinics Closing and Abortion Rates Declining?
The answer to why abortion clinics are closing and abortion numbers are declining is complex and multi faceted. Changing times, changing laws, changing science, and changing attitudes all play a role in the closing of abortion clinics and the growing unpopularity of abortion.
It has been reported that 44 abortion clinics in the U.S. have closed their doors since the beginning of 2013. The clinics have been closed in most cases because of health violations and unsafe practices. Oftentimes these offenses were exposed by abortion clinic staff and even directors who left their employment and reported to authorities. The list of violations has been extensive and includes safety violations and unclean facilities such as medical equipment in disrepair, unavailability of resuscitators in an emergency, improper cleaning of the operating room, lack of nursing staff, lack of admitting privileges at local hospitals in the event of complications, etc
The most egregious of these situations was the scandal revealed in Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s clinics with their horrific conditions and practices. Most of the public was not aware of the late term abortions performed by Dr. Gosnell and several other abortion doctors until his trial hit the press. Once these late term abortions were revealed, the public expressed very strong feelings against them. Dr. Gosnell was ultimately convicted of killing late term babies aborted alive and was given three life sentences in prison.
Some of the abortion clinic personnel who have left the business have even joined the ranks of pro-life organizations and are now speaking out against abortion and the clinics where they worked.
In addition to the demand from clinic personnel and pro-life organizations that existing laws for inspections be followed, additional laws have been passed by many state legislatures which further guarantee the safety of abortion clinic patients. These have been strongly opposed by abortion providers and pro-choice organization leaders who have insisted that the new laws are only meant to interfere with a woman’s right to an abortion.
Another reason for the decline in the abortion industry is the fact that technology, science, and medicine have moved on since the Supreme Court legalized abortion. The early explanation that a pregnancy was only a blob of tissue no longer holds water since sonograms and ultrasounds provide pictures of the new babies. As a result, the unborn child became a human being instead of a piece of tissue in the eyes of the expectant mothers. This has made abortion a much more difficult solution for an unplanned pregnancy.
Women who have had abortions have also been speaking out against the procedure because of the guilt and shame they felt after their abortions and their desire to prevent other women from making the same mistake. Their depression is called post abortion syndrome and is now recognized as a complication of abortion. Without counseling this condition can last for many years. These women have marched, rallied, and testified at legislative hearings to help women contemplating abortion to fully understand the consequences of their decisions, the help available to them, and to not be pressured to abort by boyfriends or family members.
Meanwhile, the pro-life organizations which were developed after the Supreme Court struck down the laws against abortion were expected to fade away after a few years, as the Supreme Court decision was considered to be the final word. That, however, did not happen. The pro-life movement continued to grow with every year that passed and became involved in education, legislation, court action, and political action, holding conventions, rallies, walks, protests, and providing support for pregnant women who chose to continue their pregnancies. Each year the rallies and marches grew larger. As the public learned more, the attitudes in support of abortion began to change, and now recent polls show that more people identify themselves as pro-life than pro-choice. Even Time Magazine recognized the growth of the pro-life movement in a nine-page article.
Another important component of the pro-life movement is the pregnancy centers which offer counseling and support to girls and women who are facing unplanned pregnancies. Their experience has been that these girls/women don’t want an abortion but see it as the only way out of a problem. Helping them to solve their underlying problems and providing support during their pregnancies has also played a role in the reduction of the abortion rate.
Finally, Generation Y entered the playing field. Estimates show that Generation Y is 60 million strong as compared to the 17 million in Generation X. This demographic of teens and young adults under the age of 30 have grown up with today’s technology. They have also grown up with sonograms and a far greater understanding of life before birth than the generation before them. Information for them is only a click away, and they are not easily mislead. As a result, current polls show that the 18 to 30-year-olds are the most pro-life demographic.
This younger generation have not only expressed pro-life attitudes, they have also become activists for the pro-life cause. Each January the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, is predominantly made up of teens and young adults, and organizations such as Students for Life are on college campuses across the nation.
It isn’t any wonder then that the Alan Guttmacher Institute reported that the abortion rate among U.S. teens has fallen to a record low. Since that report on national statistics, individual states have reported consistent declines in abortion rates over the past several years.
One of these changes alone could not have impacted the closing of so many clinics and the decline of the abortion rate. Only a combination of changes and events could have such a significant impact on a very controversial issue.