(Photo courtesy AFLC)
Recently released health department records indicate that abortion in Arkansas is on a downward trend, and in 2012 the state had its lowest number of abortions in over three decades.
Records released by the Department of Health's office of Vital Records/Statistics indicate that in 2012 there were 3,782 abortions in the state, a figure six percent down from 4,033 abortions in 2011. Additionally, the 2012 figure is the lowest annual abortion rate in the state since 1977.
According to LifeSite News, the state's abortion rates have followed a noticeable pattern, rising in the 1970's and 80's, peaking in the 90's, and then declining from 1992 onward. "These numbers would seem to confirm the tide of public opinion has shifted on abortion. Abortion in Arkansas is on the decline. It isn't a thing of the past yet, but it is slowly heading that direction," the pro-life media outlet reported.
Arkansas has some of the strictest abortion regulations in the nation; it is one of four states with only one surgical abortion clinic, along with Mississippi, South Dakota, and North Dakota. In March, the state's legislature enacted a bill over Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto that banned abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, one of the most pro-life abortion laws in the country. In May, however, a federal judge barred the state from implementing its new law, saying it was "more than likely unconstitutional."
Still, several members of the state's Republican-dominated legislature have vowed to continue fighting for the lives of unborn children in their state. Rep. Ann Clemmer, a Republican supporter of the state's pro-life legislation, previously told local CNN affiliate KATV in Little Rock that any legal fees required to defend the state's pro-life legislation would be money well-spent. "Protecting unborn children is [...] an important way to spend state resources," Clemmer said.
Additionally, Kandi Cox, a pro-life activist, told CNN that when the Republican-controlled legislature decided to override Democratic Gov. Beebe's veto on the 12-week abortion ban, it showed Arkansas was a state that "stood for life."
"We're going to continue to fight until Arkansas stays a solid state for life," Cox, who had an abortion when she was just 19 and now runs Abba Adoption, an organization that offers support for women who choose adoption over abortion, told CNN affiliate KARK-TV back in March.
In addition to Arkansas' strict anti-abortion legislation, two recent, separate polls find that the pro-life culture in the U.S. is on the rise. One poll, conducted by the polling company Rasmussen, found the gap between pro-choice voters and pro-life voters is narrowing, with 46 percent of likely voters questioned saying they're pro-choice and 43 percent pro-life.
A separate poll conducted by Gallup had similar findings, with 48 percent of those questioned saying they're pro-life and 45 percent pro-choice.