Yes, the abortion rate is down. But if that was due to women choosing childbirth over abortion, then we’d see a subsequent spike in the birth rate to go along with the abortion decline. But as Joerg Dreweke at the Guttmacher Institute pointed out in a 2014 analysis of the same abortion numbers Frum is looking at, “the decline in abortion between 2008 and 2011 coincided with a steep national drop in the birthrate”—13 percent and 9 percent, respectively. “By looking at abortion and birth numbers, this point becomes even more clear: Between 2008 and 2011, abortions declined by about 150,000, but births by roughly twice as much (down about 300,000),” he adds. Women aren’t “choosing life” more. On the contrary, they’re just getting pregnant less.
To be fair, Frum anticipated this objection and thought he had answered it: “At any given moment nearly 40 percent of women are using no birth-control method at all. Almost half of all American pregnancies are unintended.” An interesting point, but it doesn’t change the baseline fact that women just aren’t getting pregnant as often. So what’s going on? … The likeliest explanation is probably the most mundane one. It really is about the contraception.