Abortion data obtained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 2007-2016 showed the number of abortions in the U.S., the abortion rate, and the abortion ratio have all dropped to their lowest point since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
According to the data, 623,471 abortions were reported for 2016 from 48 reporting areas – 47 states and New York City. Areas that did not report abortion data to CDC are California, Maryland, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia.
In the decade between 2007-2016, abortions decreased 24 percent (from 825,240), the abortion rate dropped 26 percent (from 15.6 abortions per 1,000 women), and the abortion ratio decreased 18 percent (from 226 abortions per 1,000 live births).
Within the year between 2015 and 2016, the number of abortions reported dropped two percent, from 636,902. The abortion rate also decreased two percent, from 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women to 11.6, and the abortion ratio dropped one percent, from 188 abortions per 1,000 live births to 186.
Percentage of total abortions, abortion rate, and abortion ratio by age group of women who obtained a legal abortion — selected reporting areas, United States, 2016:
Most abortions were performed on women in their 20s throughout the ten-year period studied. Teen (15-19) abortions accounted for 9.4 percent of all abortions recorded, and the percentage of teen abortions dropped by 43 percent during the reporting period.
While 60 percent of abortions were performed surgically, nearly 28 percent of all abortions were induced by drugs.
According to the study, “unintended pregnancy” is the primary factor leading to induced abortion.
About 66 percent of abortions were performed at eight weeks’ gestation or less, while 91 percent were conducted at 13 weeks’ gestation or less. CDC said 1.2 percent of abortions occurred at or after 21 weeks.
Black women accounted for the largest percentage of all abortions (38 percent), while white women had the second-highest percentage at 35 percent. Hispanic women accounted for 18.8 percent of all abortions.
CDC stated about the racial/ethnic data:
In this report, abortion rates and ratios remained 1.8 and 1.4 times higher, respectively, for Hispanic women than for non-Hispanic white women, and 3.8 and 3.7 times higher, respectively, for non-Hispanic black women than for non-Hispanic white women. The comparatively high abortion rates and ratios among non-Hispanic black women have been attributed to higher unintended pregnancy rates and a greater percentage of unintended pregnancies ending in abortion.
For 42 areas that report marital status in abortion data, 14.1 percent of women who obtained an abortion in 2016 were married, and 85.9 percent were unmarried.
The percentage of abortions among unmarried women increased 3 percent from 83.5 percent in 2007 to 86 percent in 2016.
“Recent data indicate that the proportion of pregnancies in the United States that were unintended decreased from 51% in 2008 to 45% during 2011–2013,” said CDC.
The agency adds that a change in trends in contraception “might have contributed” to the drop in unintended pregnancy.
“The use of the most effective forms of reversible contraception (i.e., intrauterine devices and hormonal implants) has recently increased among all women, and the use of contraception overall appears to be increasing among adolescents,” CDC stated.
However, pro-life leaders state American women are increasingly identifying with their movement and choosing life over abortion.
“American mothers are increasingly choosing life for their children, as well as choosing to identify themselves with the pro-life cause and pro-life policies,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. “This includes the broad protections for women and children being enacted at the state level such as strengthened health and safety standards for abortion facilities, limits on public funding of abortion, parental involvement laws, and increased informed consent.”