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Abortions in U.S. increased in 2020 for the first time in decades, study says

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Abortion-rights activists gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Monday to support legalized abortion protected by the 1973 ruling in Roe vs. Wade. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/1ae45d5bf254e9715d04ce2a4bb374a6/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Abortion-rights activists gather outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Monday to support legalized abortion protected by the 1973 ruling in Roe vs. Wade. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

June 15 (UPI) -- A decades-long decline in abortions in the United States has ended, according to a study on Wednesday that said there's been a near 10% increase in the number of procedures nationwide.

The Abortion Provider Census was compiled by the Guttmacher Institute. It says that abortions performed in 2020 -- roughly 930,000 -- amounted to an 8% increase over the total (867,000) in 2017.

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Wednesday's report said the number of abortions increased in all four regions of the United States over that period. The rise was 12% in the West, 10% in the Midwest, 8% in the South and 2% in the Northeast.

One reason for the increase, the institute said, is that some states expanded Medicaid abortion coverage and most women who seek abortions are from lower income classes who qualify for Medicaid.

The study came as the U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to issue a controversial ruling in a Mississippi case that could overturn the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. A leaked opinion from the court's conservative majority last month indicated that the court is planning to overturn the decades-old decision.

An anti-abortion demonstrator stands outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday with the word "Life" taped across his mouth. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
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"The long-term decline in abortions in the United States that started 30 years ago has reversed ... underscoring that the need for abortion care in the United States is growing," the institute said in a statement.

The report also showed that local and national abortion funds expanded their capacity between 2017 and 2020 and helped more people pay for the procedure.

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"The Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe vs. Wade at a time when need for abortion care has been increasing-including in many of the 26 states likely to ban abortion following the court's official decision on the Mississippi case," the institute added.

"This means the impact of the ruling could be even more devastating than predicted by prior analyses, particularly for people across the country who already struggle to access abortion care."

Wednesday's analysis found significant increases in abortions in Illinois, Mississippi and Oklahoma -- while Missouri, Oregon and South Dakota saw fewer abortions over the three-year period.

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Polling has consistently shown that a majority of Americans support some form of legal abortion.

The Supreme Court is expected to deliver its decision in the Mississippi case before the current term ends late this month or early next.

Abortion rights advocates march in support of Roe vs. Wade

Abortion rights supporters rally at Orlando City Hall in Florida before joining the Bans Off Our Bodies march on Saturday. Photo by Chris Chew/UPI | License Photo

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