The most comprehensive study in years of abortion in America underscores a striking change in the landscape, with ever-fewer pregnant women choosing abortion and those who do increasingly opting to avoid surgical clinics.
The number of abortions has plunged to 1.2 million a year, down 25 percent since hitting a peak in 1990, according to a report released today by the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based nonprofit that supports abortion rights.
In the early 1980s, nearly one in three pregnant women chose abortion. The most recent data show that has declined to closer to one in five.
"That's a significant drop, and it's encouraging," said Randall K. O'Bannon, director of education and research for the anti-abortion group National Right to Life.
Women looking to end early pregnancies are gravitating to medication abortions, in which they take two pills under a doctor's supervision to induce miscarriage. In 2005, the most recent year covered, the pills accounted for 13 percent of abortions.