Abortions continue to decline in Minnesota, reaching levels not seen since 1975, the first year the state started keeping track.
The state reported 10,701 pregnancies that were electively aborted in 2012, which is 3 percent lower than the total in 2011 and is the lowest annual total since 10,565 procedures in 1975.
The number of abortions involving women 19 and younger has nearly been halved in five years — down from 2,137 in 2007 to 1,229 last year. While survey data has shown a slight increase in sexual activity among Minnesota high schoolers over the past decade, the decline in teen abortions matches historic declines in teen pregnancies and births in the state.
Increased access to birth control, particularly hormonal birth control pills for young women, explains why births and abortions are declining while sexual activity is increasing, said Judith Kahn, executive director of Teenwise Minnesota, an advocacy group seeking to prevent teen pregnancies. She also credited the increase of "comprehensive" sexual education programs, which teach about birth control and abstinence, but also encourage teens to plan for their futures.
"We know when young people have a sense of their own future, and that they can get to that future, they make fewer decisions that can get in the way of that," she said.