Idaho’s 2018 abortion report was published by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in February 2020. The report shows that reported abortions fell slightly from 2017.
Abortion Totals and Trends
There were 1,257 abortions reported in Idaho in 2018, a decrease of two percent from the previous year (Fig. 1). Chemical abortions also decreased by seven percent from 556 in 2017 to 515 in 2018. In 2018, chemical abortions composed 41 percent of all abortions occurring in Idaho. Abortions performed on Idaho residents, both in Idaho and in other states, exhibited little change, with 1,730 reported in 2017 and 1,742 in 2018. The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that Idaho’s abortion rate in 2018 was 3.7 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age, far below the national rate (Fig. 2).
State Report Summary
Abortions Occurring in Idaho
Ninety-six percent of the abortions reported in Idaho were performed on Idaho residents, while four percent were performed on nonresident women. Eleven percent of Idaho abortions were performed on girls ages 19 and younger. Well over half the abortions (59 percent) were on women in their twenties, with 33 percent on women ages 20 to 24 and 26 percent on women ages 25 to 29. Twenty-seven percent of Idaho abortions were on women in their thirties, and three percent were obtained by women age 40 or older. Idaho requires parental consent before an abortion may be performed on a minor girl. In 2018, 38 abortions were performed on girls under the age of 18. In every case, the girl and her parent or guardian provided informed written consent before she underwent an abortion.
A high majority of Idaho abortions were performed on white women (83 percent). Just three percent were on black women, while two percent were on Asian or Pacific Islander women and one percent on American Indian women. Another two percent were on women of other races, and eight percent were performed on women of unknown race. Overall, white women make up 94 percent of the population of Idaho women of childbearing age, while black women compose a little over one percent. CLI estimates that the Idaho’s white abortion rate in 2018 was 3.3 abortions per 1,000 white women ages 15 to 14, in comparison to the black abortion rate of 8.2. Nineteen percent of the abortions were on Hispanic women, 79 percent on non-Hispanic women, and not quite three percent on women of unknown ethnicity.
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Eighteen percent of the women undergoing abortions were married, a higher percentage than in some other states. Seventy percent were unmarried, and 12 percent did not have their marital status reported. Twenty-two percent had one previous live birth and 32 percent had two or more. Sixteen percent of the abortions were performed on women with one previous abortion and seven percent on women with more than one prior abortion.
Fifty-four percent of Idaho abortions were performed using suction curettage, and 41 percent were chemical abortions. Five percent were dilation and evacuation abortions. Sixty-five percent of the abortions occurred at eight weeks of gestation or earlier, while 18 percent were performed between nine and 10 weeks and 10 percent between 11 and 12 weeks. Seven percent of the abortions occurred between 13 and 15 weeks, and 0.6 percent (eight abortions) were performed between 16 and 20 weeks of gestation. No abortions were reported after 20 weeks.
Idaho law requires that women be provided with educational materials before undergoing abortions. In 2018, materials were provided in advance of 1,254 abortions, while it was unknown whether educational materials were provided before three abortions. Idaho’s abortion report notes that it “is possible to have reports of procedures with unknown or no patient educational materials provided in rare cases of medical emergencies.”
In 2018, 1,245 abortions were reported by abortion providers to result in no complications. Fourteen complications were reported; multiple complications could be reported for each abortion1. There were eight cases of retained products of conception, one instance of hemorrhage, one uterine perforation, and four other unspecified complications. Nine of the complications were caused by chemical abortions, and five resulted from suction curettage procedures.
Idaho passed a new abortion complication reporting law in 2018 to require physicians and health care facilities to report any abortion complications they encounter. Planned Parenthood challenged the law in court, and Idaho legislators amended vague language in the law in 2019, leading to the dismissal of Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit. The law requires the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to publish an annual report with aggregate complication data. However, the department informed CLI that the complication report is not yet available and did not indicate when it would be published.
Abortions were reported in three of Idaho’s 44 counties in 2018. The majority (84 percent) were performed in Ada County, which contains the city of Boise. Another 16 percent were reported in Twin Falls County. Just four abortions were reported to have occurred in Valley County.
Abortions Performed on Idaho Residents
In addition to reporting on all abortions occurring in the state, Idaho reports on abortions performed on Idaho residents, both in Idaho and in other states. In 2018, 1,742 abortions were reported to have been performed on Idaho women. Sixty-nine percent of these abortions were performed in Idaho, while 31 percent occurred elsewhere. Among the 533 abortions that were performed on Idaho residents outside of Idaho, 20 occurred in Montana, 26 in Oregon, 68 in Utah, and 419 in Washington.
Twelve percent of the abortions were performed on girls under the age of 20. Fifty-eight percent were performed on women in their twenties and 27 percent on women in their thirties. Three percent were on women in their forties or older. Eighty-six percent of the abortions were on white women. Three percent were performed on black women, one percent on American Indian women, and two percent on Asian or Pacific Islander women. One percent were on women of another race, and seven percent were on women of unknown race. Eighty-two percent of the abortions were performed on non-Hispanic Idaho residents, compared to 14 percent on Hispanic women and four percent on women of unknown ethnicity.
Sixty-five percent of the abortions that were performed on Idaho residents occurred earlier than nine weeks of gestation. Sixteen percent were performed between nine and 10 weeks, dropping to eight percent between 11 and 12 weeks. Seven percent occurred between 13 and 15 weeks and two percent between 16 and 20 weeks. Fourteen abortions (one percent) were performed between 20 and 24 weeks of gestation. The report does not indicate where these late-term abortions occurred, but because no abortions were reported in Idaho after 20 weeks, they must have taken place in other states. No abortions were reported at 25 weeks of gestation or later.
Forty-six percent of the abortions were performed using suction curettage. Forty-four percent were chemical abortions. Seven percent were dilation and evacuation procedures, and two percent were performed using sharp curettage. There was one intra-uterine instillation abortion reported and nine abortions performed using other, unspecified methods. It is possible that some chemical abortions are occurring outside a clinical setting and going unreported; online abortion pill distributor Aid Access has acknowledged illegally shipping abortion pills to 39 Idaho women between March 2018 and August 2019.
Planned Parenthood in Idaho
Idaho does not report the number of abortions performed at each abortion center in the state. However, it is likely that a large percentage of Idaho abortions are performed by Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood operates all three of Idaho’s abortion centers, although some abortions are performed at other facilities, such as hospitals and doctor’s offices. The Planned Parenthood affiliate that runs all three Idaho centers, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI), reported seeing 8,797 total patients in Idaho in 2018. In 2018, PPGNHI reported 18,929 abortion-related visits across the four states in which it operates, or 14 percent of total visits to those PPGNHI centers that year.
Idaho’s abortion reporting tied for 17th best in the Charlotte Lozier Institute’s 2016 survey of abortion reporting across the country. Idaho reports useful information on the states that Idaho women visit to obtain abortions; Idaho could also report the states from which nonresident women travel to Idaho for abortions. Additionally, Idaho could report the number of abortions performed at each Idaho abortion facility and identify whether any babies were born alive during failed abortion attempts.
- Statistics on abortion complications reported here represent a minimal number of deaths and complications, as this data is collected in a non-systematic and non-verifiable way. As such, this data cannot be used to calculate either an accurate abortion mortality rate or an accurate abortion complication rate for the state.
- Starting with the 2018 abortion reports, abortion rates are calculated by the Charlotte Lozier Institute to allow for easier state-to-state and year-to-year comparisons. Rates were calculated by CLI using population estimates from the United States Census Bureau. The rates were calculated using the following formula: (total number of abortions performed in Idaho ÷ number of resident women ages 15-44) x 1,000. Rates may differ slightly from previous CLI articles due to revised population estimates.
LifeNews Note: Tessa Longbons writes for the Charlotte Lozier Institute.