New CDC Report: Abortions Rose 3.1% in 2006, Other Research Shows Decline

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 25, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New CDC Report: Abortions Rose 3.1% in 2006, Other Research Shows Decline

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 25
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A new report from the Centers for Disease Control claims the number of abortions has risen during 2006, the last year for which it has national data available. However, a January 2008 report from a pro-abortion group that is considered more effective in tabulating abortions shows abortions declining.

Each year, the CDC requests abortion data from 52 reporting areas, including New York City and the District of Columbia. However, just 49 areas gave the CDC abortion stats and only 46 have reported consistently over the last 10 years.

California, Louisiana, and New Hampshire are not included in the annual abortion totals the CDC reports.

The new report indicates there were a total of 846,181 abortions during 2006, which the CDC says is a 3.1 percent increase over its 2005 numbers.

CDC notes the abortion rate was 16.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years and the abortion ratio was 236 abortions per 1,000 live births.

Those figures are lower that and different from the statistics compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, the pro-abortion group that is the former research arm of Planned Parenthood.

In its January 2008 report, considered more accurate because Guttmacher goes through abortion businesses themselves rather than relying on state health department figures and because it gets figures from the entire country, Guttmacher said abortions dropped to 1.21 million in 2005 from 1.31 million in 2000.

Guttmacher notes that 22 percent of pregnancies end in abortion, a lower abortion ratio than the CDC figure.

Despite the increases in the numbers, CDC joins Guttmacher in saying that, during the previous decade (1996-2006) reported abortion numbers, rates, and ratios decreased 5.7%, 8.8%, and 14.8%, respectively.

Digging deeper into the new CDC report, in 2006, as during the previous decade, women aged 20–29 years accounted for the majority (56.8%) of abortions and had the highest abortion rates (29.9 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20–24 years and 22.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 25–29 years).

By contrast the abortion ratio — the percentage of pregnancies ending in abortion — are highest at the extremes, with women in their 40s and teenagers more likely to have an abortion when confronted with an unplanned pregnancy.

The CDC indicates the majority (62.0%) of abortions in 2006 were done on unborn children at 8 weeks gestation or sooner. Some 3.7 percent of all abortions are done on babies greater than 21 weeks gestation.

During 1997–2006, the percentage of abortions done earlier in pregnancy increased 11.7 percent — likely because of more women switching from surgical abortions to abortions using the dangerous mifepristone (RU 486) abortion drug.

The report indicates 87.6 percent of abortions are still done using the curettage (including vacuum aspiration, sharp curettage, and dilation and evacuation) surgical procedure while 10.6 percent of abortions rely on the abortion pill.

Although abortion was supposed to make it safer for women, the CDC indicates women continue to die from botched legal abortions.

"Deaths of women associated with complications from abortions for 2006 are being investigated under CDC’s Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System. In 2005, the most recent year for which data were available, seven women were reported to have died as a result of complications from known legal induced abortions," the report says.

Six of the women who died from botched abortions had surgical abortion procedures while one woman died from the mifepristone abortion drug.

No women died from illegal abortions during the year.

Looking at the state figures, New York continued leading the nation in terms of the number of abortions with 83,220 while Wyoming saw 275 get abortions in state.

Just 39 states submitted date about the racial makeup of women getting abortions.

White women accounted for the largest percentage (55.8%) of abortions, black women accounted for 36.4% and women of other racial groups for 7.8%. As has been the case in previous years, black women had higher abortion rates and ratios than white women and women of other races.

Some 83.5% of all women obtaining abortions were unmarried and unmarried women accounted for a slightly higher percentage of abortions in 2006 than in prior years.

Among the 41 areas for which the number of previous live births was reported for 2006, 41.3% of women had already had at least one child at the time of their abortion. On the other hand, 44.8 percent of women getting abortions in 2006 had already had at least one abortion and 19.2 percent had at least two prior abortions.

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