We know the numbers. Planned Parenthood is a huge multimillion dollar corporation. It receives more than half a billion federal taxpayer dollars each year. Planned Parenthood, and the abortion industry in general, has a powerful political action arm. In some states, anti-life legislation promoted by abortion industry players is brought up nearly every legislative session. In some states, the industry controls the legislatures to such an extent that it can push for deregulation and decreased oversight. Such a move was seen in California last year with the removal of abortion clinic building standards and the successful push to allow abortions by nurse practitioners and midwives.
But despite the power stacked on the side of Big Abortion, is the abortion industry as secure as it once was? What do the numbers tell us? Maybe there is reason to doubt the industry’s foundations are as strong as they once were.
First, the overall abortion rate has been in a steady decline over the past few years. Reports this year indicate a record low in teen abortion rates. In fact, teenage abortion rates are down to their lowest levels since 1988, a drop of 66 percent according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. While many factors contribute to this decline, polling trends indicate that young people are increasingly likely to identify as pro-life. This has to have abortion industry leaders worried for the future.
Second, a record number of abortion clinics have closed in the past year: there were 87 closures in 2013, according to the abortion watch group Operation Rescue. That brings the total number of abortion clinics that perform surgical abortions in the United States down to 582, down from a high of 2,176 clinics in 1991. While clinics close for many reasons, such as the retirement of aging abortionists, new state laws raising standards for clinics, and a decreased demand for abortion due to increased pro-life sentiment, the fact that they are closing at record rates necessarily impacts the industry’s future viability.
Finally, legislation regulating and limiting abortion continues to advance in state legislatures throughout the nation. From fetal pain abortion bans, such as that proposed in Congress, to abortion clinic regulations, to defunding Planned Parenthood, efforts to curb abortion have met with record-setting success over the past few years. The success of these efforts to introduce common sense regulation in what has for too long been an untouchable industry impacts the future attractiveness of the big business of abortion.
While these victories may be small skirmishes in the overall battle to protect life, time will tell if they are indicators of the ultimate decline of an industry that for so long has profited by taking the lives of children and exploiting the fears and desperation of women.