LA Times: Number of Abortions Has "Fallen Dramatically"?

October 23rd, 2005 11:14 PM

In an October 20, 2005 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on the issue of abortion and Roe vs. Wade, columnist Dahlia Lithwick claimed (emphasis mine),

Roe is quickly becoming legally irrelevant. The number of abortions in the United States has fallen dramatically in the last two decades ...

"Fallen dramatically"? Let's look at the same numbers (link) that Planned Parenthood sees, per the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI). In 1985, there were a reported 1,588,600 abortions. In June of this year, AGI reported that there were about 1,290,000 abortions in 2002 (the most recent data available (pdf file)). That is a difference of approximately 18.8%. Is that really "dramatic"?

When the numbers get to under 1 million, then the word "dramatic" can be considered. For now, at nearly 1.3 million abortions a year, Roe is far from "becoming legally irrelevant."

By the way, Dahlia Lithwick is a senior editor and legal correspondent for Slate and a columnist at the New York Times.