According to a new report from the CDC, the latest numbers (from 2011) indicate that the abortion rate in America has fallen to nearly an all-time low, but there are still 219 abortions performed for every 1,000 live birth deliveries. The report says that in 2011, more than 730,000 abortions were performed (though the number could actually be closer to 1 million), which represents a dramatic decline over the last 40 years. Experts say that the falling abortion rate could be due to a number of factors including access to contraception and changing social norms ... Discuss

Two years ago, the state of Texas was home to 41 abortion facilities. Following this week’s ruling by a federal appeals court to enforce new legislation, only seven will be allowed to stay open. This summer, a lower court stalled the enforcement of new laws that outlined higher on-site standards at the state’s abortion clinics and required providers to be able to admit patients to nearby hospitals. This week’s ruling though allows for the enforcement of the new rules, and will effectively force the closure of most of the state’s facilities—unless they can make some expensive changes. And though the ruling will be appealed, experts think in the end, the state’s new measures will be upheld meaning the new round of closures are likely inevitable ... Discuss

Overriding a veto from Gov. Jay Nixon, conservative legislators in Missouri have officially changed the state’s waiting period for getting an abortion from 24 hours to three days. Following the vote, Nixon criticized the move and the new bill which does not make exceptions for incest or rape ... Discuss

Here’s an interesting article from the National Journal that looks at the lasting effects of abortion-restricting legislation recently passed in Texas. Even though elements of the laws are likely to be decided by the Supreme Court, as the article notes, abortion providers in the state are facing closures, and may never reopen no matter what the courts ultimately decide.

There were more than 40 clinics that provided abortions in Texas in 2011. There are now 20 still open, and after the law's last steps of implementation are taken in September, all but six are expected to close. Most of the closed clinics will never reopen, their operators say.

Texas’ laws that put new restrictions on abortion providers became the subject of a national dialogue after Sen. Wendy Davis conducted a day-long filibuster attempting to block it from going through last year. Though initially successful, Gov. Rick Perry eventually had the new measures passed, effectively shutting down almost every abortion provider in the state ... Discuss

Though the big news from the Vatican this weekend was the canonization of both John XXIII and John Paul II, it was Pope Francis who also made headlines for comments he gave before the event. On Friday afternoon, Pope Francis met with a group of bishops from Africa and spoke out about controversial issues including divorce and abortion. Though he’s been vocal about the church’s opposition to abortion before (he recently called it an “unspeakable crime”), in many occasions, the pope has focused more on issues like poverty and service than controversial ones. He told the bishops:

Abortion compounds the grief of many women who now carry with them deep physical and spiritual wounds after succumbing to the pressures of a secular culture which devalues God’s gift of sexuality and the right to life of the unborn … The rate of separation and divorce is high, even in many Christian families, and children frequently do not grow up in a stable home environment. We also observe with great concern, and can only deplore, an increase in violence against women and children … All these realities threaten the sanctity of marriage, the stability of life in the home and consequently the life of society as a whole.

This week, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that makes it illegal for women in the state to get an abortion “at 20 weeks or more gestation.” Planned a Parenthood, who are critics of the measure, say that because of how the bill is technically written, the law is actually an 18-week ban. Though the ban does not contain exceptions in cases of rape or incest, according to Mississippi’s The Clarion-Ledger, “the bill would allow exemptions in cases where the mother's life is in danger or where it is determined the fetus has problems and no chance of survival” ... Discuss