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Contraceptive use is declining; abortion rate rises

A new report from the Guttmacher Institute takes note of a striking decline in contraceptive use over the past decade, particularly among poor women. A decline in the abortion rate that began in the 1980s has also lost momentum. The rate of unintended pregnancy, which had declined 18% from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s, has leveled off since 1994-a finding that reflects a divergent trend: Unintended pregnancies are up 29% among poor women and down by 20% among better-off women. In fact, a poor woman is four times as likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy as a higher-income woman. Researchers at the Institute blame reductions in federally financed and state-financed family planning programs for declining contraceptive use. Visit the Institute's Web site, http://www.guttmacher.org/ to read the report.