49 US Abortion Clinics Closed in 2017, More Than Double the Number Opened

(Screenshot: OperationRescue.orgA chart from the pro-life group Operation Rescue that shows a decline in abortion clinics during the year 2017.

Forty-nine abortion clinics were shuttered over the past calendar year, a total that is more than twice the number of clinics that were opened over the same time period.

According to a report by the pro-life activist group Operation Rescue that was released Tuesday, 35 surgical abortion clinics and 14 medication-only clinics were closed this year.

This contrasts with the 19 new surgical and medication clinics that were opened in 2017, leaving a total of 704 facilities nationwide.

"Surgical abortion clinics decreased in number by 26% since 2009, the first year Operation Rescue began keeping records. Overall, there has been a 17% decrease in the total number of abortion facilities in America since 2009," reported Operation Rescue.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)A woman prays during an anti-Planned Parenthood vigil outside the Planned Parenthood - Margaret Sanger Health Center in Manhattan, New York, U.S., February 11, 2017.

"Since 1991, when there were 2,176 active surgical abortion facilities, only 23% of that number of surgical clinics are operating today."

Operation Rescue also noted that a major factor for these clinic closures is "a decreased demand for abortions."

"There appears to be a correlation between clinics closing and a decrease in abortion numbers. According to the CDC, abortion numbers have been dropping steadily since 2005," continued Operation Rescue.

"Some facilities have not been able to compete in an ever-shrinking abortion market and have been forced to downside or shut down. At the same time, when abortion facilities close, abortion numbers decrease even more."

In recent years, the number of abortion clinics in America have been in decline, along with the number of reported abortion procedures.

For example, a Bloomberg Businessweek report found that from 2011 to 2016, 162 abortion clinics had closed down for a myriad of factors.

While noting that pro-life legislation passed by Republican lawmakers at the state level is one reason, Bloomberg reported that declines were also found in predominantly pro-choice states.

"California's loss of a dozen providers shows how availability declined, even in states led by Democrats, who tend to be friendly to abortion rights," noted the 2016 article.

"Industry consolidation, changing demographics, and declining demand were also behind the drop, along with doctor retirements and crackdowns on unfit providers."

The 2017 report's total number of closed abortion clinics is a notable increase from Operation Rescue's 2016 report, which reported 31 clinic closures last year.

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