U.S. Abortion Rates Lowest In Four Decades - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

U.S. Abortion Rates Lowest In Four Decades

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BOZEMAN -

According to a new study, the national abortion rate is the lowest it has been in nearly 40 years. But, Montana is one of the six states that has not seen a decline.

In 2011, abortion rates nationally were at a record low. That's according to a study put out by the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that studies sexual and reproductive health and rights.

"Montana has about a 13% abortion rate. The national average is about 20%," said Stephanie McDowell, Bridger Care Associate Director.

Stephanie McDowell with Bridger Care in Bozeman said this is because Montana has a low rate of abortions to begin with.

"Montana accounts for 0.2% of abortions nationally," said McDowell.

Bridger Care provides birth control to women, regardless of their ability to pay.

"We're giving the patient the resources and telling them to find someone that they trust to have the discussion with and someone that is important to help them," said McDowell.

McDowell said 50% of pregnancies are unintended and one in three women will have an abortion by the age of 45.

"About 69% are economically disadvantaged. They are facing unintended pregnancies and ultimately they are choosing an abortion because they don't have access to affordable and effective contraceptives," said McDowell.

She said now, even though the numbers don't show a decline, more people are using contraceptives to prevent an unexpected pregnancy.

"More women are accessing affordable birth control, more women are accessing long acting reversible contraceptives such as IUD's," said McDowell.

She said an increase in sex education is also helping prevent abortions.

"We're see more sex education with our young adults and our young. They are understanding how planning for your future is important and the future of your education," said McDowell

In August, an abortion clinic in Livingston closed. A woman living in the Gallatin Valley now has to travel to Helena, Billings or Missoula to have an abortion.

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