New CDC Report Shows Abortion and Pregnancy Rates Dropping to Historic Lows

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 15, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New CDC Report Shows Abortion and Pregnancy Rates Dropping to Historic Lows

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 15
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A new report released yesterday from the Centers for Disease Control shows the number of abortions, the abortion rate and the pregnancy rate all declining from the period 1990-2005. The new CDC National Vital Statistics Report shows there were an estimated 6,408,000 pregnancies in the U.S. in 2005.

That number includes 4.14 million live births, 1.21 million induced abortions, and 1.06 million miscarriages or other fetal losses that are not from abortion.

The good news from the CDC is that the abortion rate fell more than one-third during the years studied.

Among married women, seven out of 1,000 women got an abortion in 2005, down from 11 per 1,000 women in 1990. Among unmarried women, 31 per 1,000 women had abortions in 2005, compared to 48 per 1,000 women in 1990.

The report shows that, despite claims by abortion advocates to the contrary, the abortion rate fell during the first five years of the Bush administration while the birth rate began rising towards the end as more women chose to carry their unplanned pregnancies to term.

In 2000 when Bush won his first presidential election, the CDC figures show the abortion rate at 21.3 percent and it declined to 19.4 percent by 2005, the latest year for which the CDC has data available.

The abortion rate was at its highest in the late 1970s and early 1980s (peaking at 29.3 percent in 1981) as abortion became mainstreamed following the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed it virtually on demand in 1973.

The rates began falling in the late 1980s and then fell dramatically starting in 1990 and have continued falling ever since.

As the CDC has shown throughout the years, women between the ages of 20-24 have the highest abortion rate followed by women between 18-19 and then women between 25-29 years of age.

However, the abortion rates in each category are falling while the abortion rates of women 35-39 years of age are rising slightly and those between the ages of 30-34 and 40-44 are holding steady. The abortion rate on teenage girls continues to decline as well.

The new CDC data shows that, in 2005, black women continued to have much higher abortion rates compared to their white and Hispanic counterparts. Black women had abortions at a rate of 37.2 per 1,000 women compared with 18.1 for Hispanics and 12.5 for white women. However, the rates are declining among all races.

Abortions continue to remain high among unmarried women while they are significantly lower in all races among married women.

White unmarried women have abortions at a rate of 17.2 per 1,000 women while married women are lower at 4 per 1,000. Black unmarried women have an abortion rate of 62 per 1,000 and married at 18.8 per 1,000 while Hispanics are at 45.5 for unmarried and 9.3 for married.

The estimated pregnancy rate for 2005 was 103.2, about 11 percent below the 1990 peak (115.8 per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years), but very similar to the rate of 102.7 when the series began in 1976.

The pregnancy rate for teenagers fell 40 percent during the 1990–2005 period, to 70.6 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19 years. This rate was the lowest reported since 1976.

The overall decline for teenagers is reflected in significant declines in rates for live births and induced abortions, with much steeper declines for abortions (down 53 percent) compared with live births (down 32 percent).

The pregnancy rate declined much more rapidly from 1990 to 2005 for younger teenagers 15–17 years (48 percent) than for older teenagers 18–19 years (30 percent). Pregnancy rates declined by 47–49 percent each for black and white non-Hispanic teenagers and by 23 percent for Hispanic teenagers.

Preliminary data on births extending to 2007 show that the long-term decline in the teenage birth rate was halted with increases from 2005 to 2006 and from 2006 to 2007. But abortion rates for that time period are not yet available from the CDC.

Related web sites:
See the report at

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