Abortions in Italy hit their lowest point in 2015 since the country legalized the deadly procedure almost 40 years ago, a new report from the Italian Ministry of Health found.
The report, which the ministry released Thursday, showed a 9.3 percent drop in abortions from 2014, the continuation of a decade-long decline. According to the report, there were fewer than 90,000 abortions in Italy in 2015. In 1983, the highest recorded year for abortions, 234,801 unborn babies lost their lives to abortion, according to the report.
Abortion is legal for any reason up to 90 days of pregnancy in Italy and later in cases where the woman has a physical or mental risk or where the unborn baby has a deformity. The country legalized abortion in 1978.
The report continued: “All indicators confirm the downward trend: the abortion rate (number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 49), which is the most accurate indicator for the correct evaluation of the trend of recourse to abortion, was 6.6 per 1000 in 2015 (-8.0% compared to 2014 and -61.2% compared to 1983), was 7.1 in 2014. The Italian figure is among the lowest values at the international level …”
The ratio of abortions to live births was 185.1 per 1,000, a decrease of 5.7 percent from 2014, according to the report.
There is hope that more unborn babies will be saved in Italy in the future as well. A government study released in March found that young Italian doctors are refusing to do abortions at a higher rate than before. The Italy Department of Health reported seven in 10 Italian gynecologists refused to do abortions on the grounds of conscientious objection in 2013 – up from 59 percent from 2005.
The new report reflects a larger global abortion trend. Abortion rates are dropping in many countries, including the United States.
In late November, the Centers for Disease Control released its annual report on U.S. abortion numbers. The 2013 abortion surveillance report showed a 5 percent drop in abortions from 2012 and a 20 percent drop since 2004 in the U.S.
The CDC data, which is incomplete because the government does not require states to report abortion numbers, reported 664,435 abortions in 47 states in 2013. The abortion rate was 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44.
The Associated Press reports the CDC has not recorded a lower abortion rate since 1971, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade and its companion case Doe v. Bolton, which allowed for legalized abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. In 1971, several states had legalized abortion; but many others prohibited abortion.
Abortion rates have been dropping steadily in the past several years as pro-lifers worked to pass a historic number of pro-life laws in states across the country. Pregnancy resource centers and sidewalk counselors also have been playing an important role, offering pregnant and parenting families resources and information to empower them to choose life for their unborn babies.
Advances in modern technology and medicine also have been providing a clear picture of an unborn baby’s life and development in the womb, and making it difficult to deny the biology that life begins at conception.