by Kathryn Blass, TFF Summer InternLiberty University

Virginia has been experiencing a steady downward progression in the number of abortions in recent years. In 2009 there were 27,429 abortions, according to the Virginia Department of Health. In 2014 the numbers were down to 19,979! A decline of 27 percent! (Based on data available through VDH’s Division of Health statistics, using abortion numbers per abortion facility.) This decline is consistent with an overall reduction in abortion across the nation.

While there are likely many reasons for the decline, including the incredible work of pregnancy centers that provide women with an unintended pregnancy the counseling and support they need to choose life, the decrease in the Commonwealth can also be attributed to three reasons—a more pro-life younger generation, instituting health and safety standards for abortion centers, and updating Virginia’s informed consent law to include modern technology.

The millennial generation has proven itself time and time again to be decidedly more pro-life than their parents and grandparents. According to a 2010 Gallup Poll the number of 18-29 year olds that believe abortion should be legal at all times is down to approximately 24 percent. A prominent reason for this trend is the millennial belief that they can achieve “social support for women, especially when it comes to their being able to keep their children…they will refuse to choose between protecting mother and embryo.”

Two abortion centers ceased operating after health and safety regulations for abortion centers that were introduced under the McDonnell administration, one of which was that Commonwealth’s busiest (the other closed more likely due to leasing issues). The standards simply work to ensure the health and well-being of the women who seek treatment from the abortion facilities. The regulations ensure that abortion clinics provide the same level of care as any other medical facility—“personal consent; medical testing; anesthesia; administration, storage and dispensing of drugs; emergency services; and facility design and construction.” Perhaps, despite the best efforts of Virginia’s media to cover up the hundreds of health and safety violations at the centers, women in Virginia are finding out that these facilities put profit ahead of their health care?

Finally, it’s likely that the addition of the opportunity to see a sonogram prior to abortion to our informed consent law has aided in reducing abortions by allowing women to see their child before making the final decision to have an abortion. By allowing women to see their unborn children, the babies are “humanized” and seen as what they really are—living humans with the right to life.