Approximately every seven years the Guttmacher Institute conducts a large survey of abortion patients. This survey provides information about both the racial demographics and age demographics of women who are seeking abortions. It also contains information about the percentage of women seeking abortions who have already had children. It also asks about the income levels of women seeking abortions and how women are financing abortions.
Between June 2021 and July 2022, Guttmacher obtained data from 5,930 women who had had abortions. The survey results were released earlier this month.
A comparison of the results of the 2021–22 survey to the most recent previous survey, from 2014, shows that many trends continue. A progressively smaller percentage of abortions are performed on minors.
Furthermore, an increasing percentage of abortions are performed on both African-American women and Hispanic women. The results of this survey also provide evidence that chemical abortions continue to be an increasing share of all abortions. This 2021–22 survey found that 54.4 percent of all abortions were chemical abortions.
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In this survey, the researchers place each U.S. state into one of two categories. The 24 states they view as likely to either “ban” or “severely restrict” abortion are deemed “restrictive states,” and the 26 states they view as likely to keep abortion legal are considered “protective states.” In this report, the Guttmacher analysts compare the characteristics of women seeking abortions in both groups of states. This allows us to see the differences between abortion-seekers from conservative and liberal states.
The most important difference between “restrictive” states and “protective” states involved the financing of abortions. The results indicate that 42 percent of abortions obtained by women residing in “protective” states were financed by Medicaid. Conversely, less than 1 percent of abortions obtained by women living in “restrictive” states were financed by Medicaid. This is unsurprising. Few politically conservative states fund elective abortions through Medicaid. Furthermore, when compared with women residing in protective states, women residing in “restrictive states” were almost twice as likely to say that paying for their abortion was “difficult.” This is evidence that efforts to limit the ability of Medicaid programs to cover abortions prevent some abortions and save lives.
Since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, the pro-life movement has made admirable progress enacting strong pro-life laws in approximately 15 states. That said, for the foreseeable future, abortion will still be legal in many parts of the country. This Guttmacher survey provides pro-lifers with information about future opportunities and challenges. Our efforts to reduce teen pregnancies and teen abortions have been successful. However, finding creative ways to more effectively engage abortion-minded African-American women and Hispanic women remains an important priority for pro-life activists.
LifeNews Note: Michael J. New is a Research Associate at the Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America and is an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_J_New