Abortions Down 5%, Biggest Decline in a Decade

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday that the number of abortions dropped five percent in the most recent reporting period.

This was the largest decline in a decade.

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. 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 CDC has been calculating these figures since 1969, but they're really not a perfect reflection of abortion in this nation as California, the most-populace state in the country, doesn't report its totals.

As the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday, others have estimated total abortions in 2009 exceeded one million.

Despite this, CDC's report gives interesting insight to abortions in the nation.

For example, "adolescents aged 15–19 years accounted for 15.5% of all abortions and had an abortion rate of 13.0 abortions per 1,000 adolescents aged 15–19 years."

If you think that's scary, it gets worse.

"Abortion ratios decreased from 2000 to 2009 for women in all age groups except for those aged <15 years, for whom they increased."

So abortion ratios are increasing in girls under 15.


But there was some good news in the report for the majority of Americans opposed to third-term abortions unless the health of the mother is at risk:

In 2009, most (64.0%) abortions were performed at ≤8 weeks' gestation, and 91.7% were performed at ≤13 weeks' gestation. Few abortions (7.0%) were performed at 14–20 weeks' gestation, and even fewer (1.3%) were performed at ≥21 weeks' gestation. 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%.

So, abortions are being done earlier and earlier in the gestation period with continually fewer after 20 weeks.

As you would expect, there are regional differences in abortion totals:

By occurrence, a considerable range existed in the total number of reported abortions (ranging from 769 in South Dakota to 119,996 in New York, including New York City and New York State combined),*** the abortion rate (ranging from 4.0 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years in Mississippi to 29.8 in New York [city and state combined]), and the abortion ratio (ranging from 57 abortions per 1,000 live births in Mississippi to 484 in New York [city and state combined]). Similarly, a considerable range existed by residence††† in the total number of reported abortions (ranging from 782 in Wyoming to 115,629 in New York [city and state combined]), the abortion rate (ranging from 5.7 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years in Utah to 28.7 in New York§§§ [city and state combined]), and the abortion ratio (ranging from 64 abortions per 1,000 live births in Utah to 466 in New York [city and state combined]).


There were also some interesting demographic figures:

Non-Hispanic white women had the lowest abortion rates (8.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years) and ratios (140 abortions per 1,000 live births), whereas non-Hispanic black women had the highest abortion rates (32.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years) and ratios (477 abortions per 1,000 live births). Among the 24 areas**** that reported by race/ethnicity every year during 2007–2009, abortion rates decreased for all racial/ethnic groups. The abortion rate decreased 7% for non-Hispanic white women (from 9.1 abortions per 1,000 women in 2007 to 8.5 in 2009) and 6% for Hispanic women (from 20.5 abortions per 1,000 women in 2007 to 19.3 in 2009) but only 1% for non-Hispanic black women (from 34.6 abortions per 1,000 women in 2007 to 34.2 in 2009). In contrast, abortion ratios decreased among non-Hispanic white women but not among women in any other racial/ethnic group. For non-Hispanic white women, the abortion ratio decreased 3% (from 143 abortions per 1,000 live births in 2007 to 138 in 2009), whereas the abortion ratio increased 4% for non-Hispanic black women (from 481 abortions per 1,000 live births in 2007 to 501 in 2009) and 2% for Hispanic women (from 192 abortions per 1,000 live births in 2007 to 195 in 2009).

So black women have abortions at almost four times the rate of white women, Hispanics more than double.

Also, the ratio of white abortions to live births declined during the period while increasing among blacks and Hispanics.


The report ended with a push for "free" contraceptives:

Providing women and men with the knowledge and resources necessary to make decisions about their sexual behavior and use of contraception can help them avoid unintended pregnancies. However, efforts to improve contraceptive use and reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the United States have been challenging. Findings from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), the primary national source of data on unintended pregnancy in the United States, suggest that unintended pregnancy decreased during 1982–1995 in conjunction with an increase in contraceptive use among women at risk for unintended pregnancy (82–84).****** However, data from the 2002 and 2006–2010 NSFGs show that contraceptive use among women at risk for unintended pregnancy has decreased (84,85). Moreover, although use of the most effective forms of reversible contraception (i.e., intrauterine devices and hormonal implants, which are as effective as sterilization at preventing unintended pregnancy [86]) has increased (85,87), use of these methods in the United States remains among the lowest of any developed country (87), and no additional progress has been made toward reducing unintended pregnancy (41,42). Research has shown that providing no-cost contraception increases use of the most effective methods and can reduce abortion rates (88,89). Removing cost as one barrier to the use of the most effective contraceptive methods might therefore be an important way to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and consequently the number of abortions that are performed in the United States.

That should certainly make the left and their media minions happy.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.