A new report says the abortion rate in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level since 1973.

The number of abortions fell by 13 percent between 2008 and 2011.

Those are the key findings in a national survey of abortion providers conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, which supports legal access to abortion.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America says the report underscores the importance of keeping contraceptives accessible. 

"If you want to reduce the need for abortion, you need to make birth control as available to as many people as possible no matter where they live, no matter where they work. And then you'll reduce the need for abortion," Spokesman Eric Ferrero said. 

The institute says the decline is not linked to the recent wave of laws restricting abortion access.

However the National Right to Life Committee disagrees, saying their efforts have increased awareness of the issues.