BISMARCK — The number of induced abortions performed in North Dakota slid for the fourth straight year in 2018, marking the lowest figure since recordkeeping began almost four decades ago, according to new state data.

There were 1,141 induced abortions recorded in North Dakota last year, down slightly from 1,155 in 2017, according to state Department of Health reports. The agency began tracking abortion statistics in 1981.

The state hit a record number of abortions in 1982 with 3,076.

Tammi Kromenaker, the director of the state's sole abortion clinic, the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, cited Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, which the Trump administration has tried to roll back.

"The (ACA) continuing to cover birth control, and with no deductible and no co-pay, that is huge for so many families," Kromenaker said Friday, July 5, noting that North Dakota is following a national trend in seeing abortion decline.

Christopher Dodson, executive director of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, noted the rate of abortions per pregnancy among North Dakota residents remained historically low at 7.2%. But he said every abortion is an "unnecessary tragedy."

"Every woman deserves services, care, and love for herself and her child — before and after birth — so that she never has to even consider abortion," Dodson wrote in an email.

The Red River Women's Clinic recently joined the American Medical Association in filing a federal lawsuit against two North Dakota abortion laws they say will force doctors to misinform their patients and violate their medical ethics. That includes a new law requiring physicians to inform patients it may be possible to reverse a drug-induced abortion.

The complaint argues that claim isn't backed by science, but proponents have said it will give women the full information they need about the procedure.