Report Shows Abortion Rate Has Dropped 25% Since 1990

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 20, 2012   |   12:34PM   |   Washington, DC

A new report released today from the National Center for Health Statistics reveals the abortion rate in the United States has dropped 25 percent since 1990, showing the pro-life movement is making progress in stopping abortions and the abortion rate decline for married women is even higher.

In 2008, the agency said an estimated 6,578,000 pregnancies resulted in 4,248,000 live births, 1,212,000 induced abortions, and 1,118,000 fetal losses, or miscarriages. That means about 18 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion in 2008 — a drop from the 1990 figures, when 24 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion.

“The birth rate for married women has been essentially stable since the late 1990s. The abortion rate, however, has fallen almost continuously, by 39 percent since 1990,” the report said.

The drop in abortion rate applied to both white women as well as Hispanics, as both categories of women saw 18 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion. However, the report noted, “Hispanic teenagers had higher birth rates and lower abortion rates compared with non-Hispanic black teenagers.”

The new report indicated teen pregnancies, teen birth rates and abortion rates among teenagers are all down in 2008 as compared with the 1990 figures.

“The overall declines in pregnancy rates for teenagers are reflected in significant declines in rates for live births and induced abortions over the 1990–2008 period, with greater reductions for abortions (down 56 percent) compared with live births (33 percent). More recent birth data for teenagers show that the birth rate has continued to fall from 2008 through 2010, by 15 percent; preliminary data for 2010 show a rate of 34.3 per 1,000 women aged 15–19,” the agency reported.

The report noted that an estimated 84 percent of women who had an abortion in 2008 were unmarried, making it so women without a supportive partner continue to be more likely to have an abortion than married women.

For married women, the abortion rate was 11 per 1,000 women in 1990 but that number dropped to 7 in 1,000 in 2008. For unmarried women, the abortion rate was 48 in 1,000 women in 1990 and that dropped to 41 in 1,000 women in 2008.



The report noted the total number of abortions estimated for 2008 did rise to 1.212 million, up from 1.2 million in 2007. Abortions declined generally through the 2000s and peaked in 1990 at more than 1.6 million. They rose during the 1970s and 1980s after the Roe v. Wade decision and abortions became more mainstreamed in society.