The number of abortions in Indiana decreased in 2015, the latest data point in a six-year decline.
Last year, nearly 8,000 abortions were performed in Indiana, a 2 percent drop from the year before, according to annual data from the Indiana State Department of Health.
Abortion rates have declined in the state since 2009. That roughly lines up with national data showing fewer people undergoing the procedure since 2010.
But Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said, in Indiana, the state’s political climate has a lot to do with the trend.
“Abortion, frankly, is increasingly falling out of favor as an answer to unplanned pregnancy,” he said. “And I think that has a lot to do with our better understanding of the humanity of the unborn child and also much better access to positive alternatives to abortion.”
Fitcher pointed to last year’s provision, in which the state provided $3.5 million to Real Alternatives pregnancy centers, a measure that expanded the nonprofit’s reach across the state. The clinics provide anti-abortion counseling to pregnant women, among other services.
Elizabeth Nash studies the issue for the Guttmacher Institute, which is dedicated to advancing reproductive rights for women. As with Fichter, she said Indiana’s political climate is partially to blame for the decrease in abortions, pointing out in the past six years, the General Assembly has enacted 29 new abortion amendments to pre-existing legislation.
“We have really seen the legislature and administration double down on abortion restrictions,” she said. “We could…be seeing the result of a more hostile climate towards abortion.”
Indiana instituted a ban on abortions past 20 weeks in 2011, and in 2014 enacted a law that required abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky officials said increased use of long-term contraceptives (such as IUDs) among younger people could be to thank, but add without data on the state’s number of pregnancies, any conclusions would be premature.