Abortions Fall 5 Percent Nationwide, Biggest Drop in 10 Years

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 21, 2012   |   4:01PM   |   Washington, DC

Abortion fell five percent nationwide in 2009, according to new information from the Centers for Disease Control, which tracks abortion figures nationwide.

Since 1969, CDC has conducted abortion surveillance to document the number and characteristics of women obtaining legal induced abortions in the United States. However, because the data doesn’t include numbers from all 50 states, most pro-life groups consider the data incomplete.

Still, the numbers are a good reference for understanding trends and the trend is that abortions are on the decline thanks to pro-life laws, the work of pregnancy centers and shutting down abortion clinics and practitioners who run afoul of the law.

“A total of 784,507 abortions were reported to CDC for 2009. Of these abortions, 772,630 (98.5%) were from the 45 reporting areas that provided data every year during 2000–2009. Among these same 45 reporting areas, the abortion rate for 2009 was 15.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 227 abortions per 1,000 live births,” the CDC reported. “Compared with 2008, the total number and rate of reported abortions for 2009 decreased 5%, representing the largest single year decrease for the entire period of analysis.”

“The abortion ratio decreased 2%. From 2000 to 2009, the total number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 6%, 7%, and 8%, respectively, to the lowest levels for 2000–2009,” the CDC noted.

In 2009 and throughout the period of analysis, women in their 20s accounted for the majority of abortions and had the highest abortion rates while women in their 30s had abortions at lower rates than previous years.

“In 2009, women aged 20–24 and 25–29 years accounted for 32.7% and 24.4% of all abortions, respectively, and had an abortion rate of 27.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20–24 years and 20.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 25–29 years,” the CDC said. “In contrast, women aged 30–34, 35–39, and ≥40 years accounted for 14.7%, 8.8%, and 3.3% of all abortions, respectively, and had an abortion rate of 13.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged 30–34 years, 7.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 35–39 years, and 2.7 abortions per 1,000 women aged ≥40 years. Throughout the period of analysis, abortion rates decreased among women aged 20–24 and 25–29 years, whereas they increased among women aged ≥40 years.”

The CDC says teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 accounted for 15.5% of all abortions and the percentage of all abortions accounted for by adolescents and the adolescent abortion rate decreased. Abortion ratios decreased from 2000 to 2009 for women in all age groups except for those aged <15 years, for whom they increased.

Most abortions are done, the CDC reports, at atround or before 8 weeks of gestation of the unborn baby and 91.7 percent of all abrotions are done before the baby reaches week 13. About 7 percent of all abortions occur t 14–20 weeks’ gestation, and 1.3 percent happen after 21 weeks.

“From 2000 to 2009, the percentage of all abortions performed at ≤8 weeks’ gestation increased 12%, whereas the percentage performed at >13 weeks’ decreased 12%. Moreover, among abortions performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation, the distribution shifted toward earlier gestational ages, with the percentage of these abortions performed at ≤6 weeks’ gestation increasing 47%,” the CDC said.

Concerning the method of abortion, the CDC reports: “In 2009, 74.2% of abortions were performed by curettage at ≤13 weeks’ gestation, 16.5% were performed by early medical abortion (a nonsurgical abortion at ≤8 weeks’ gestation), and 8.1% were performed by curettage at >13 weeks’ gestation. Among abortions that were performed at ≤8 weeks’ gestation and thus were eligible for early medical abortion, 25.2% were completed by this method. The use of early medical abortion increased 10% from 2008 to 2009.”



The CDC confirms abortions continue to hurt women, noting that “In 2008, the most recent year for which data were available, 12 women were reported to have died as a result of complications from known legal induced abortions.”

Mississippi had the lowest abortion rate, at 4 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age while New York was highest, with abortion rates roughly eight times higher than Mississippi’s. New York is second only to California in number of abortion clinics.