U.S. Abortion Rate at Decades Low


The number and rate of abortions tallied by US authorities have fallen to their lowest level in decades, according to new data.


The latest annual report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, incorporating data from 47 states, said the abortion rate for 2013 was 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years. That is down 5 per cent from 2012, and is half the rate of 25 recorded in 1980.


The last time the CDC recorded a lower abortion rate was in 1971, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that overturned state laws against abortion. Abortion was legal in some states at that time.


The CDC tallied 664,435 abortions in 2013 from the 47 states, down 5 per cent from 2012 and down 20 per cent from 2004. The CDC does not receive abortion data from California, Maryland and New Hampshire—and thus its total is less than the estimated 900,000 plus abortions per year in all 50 states.


Back in 1990, when California was supplying data, the CDC recorded a peak of more than 1.4 million abortions.


The CDC's latest findings meshed with an Associated Press state-by-state survey conducted last year—with extensive data from 2014—showing that abortions had been declining in virtually every state since 2010.


Among the CDC's detailed findings:

—Women in their 20s accounted for more than 58 per cent of abortions and had the highest abortion rates. Young women and girls aged 19 and under accounted for 11.7 per cent of abortions.

—Two-thirds of abortions were performed within the first eight weeks of gestation, and nearly 92 per cent by 13 weeks. Only 1.3 percent were performed after 20 weeks.

—State abortion rates varied widely, from 3.6 per 1,000 women age 15-44 in Mississippi to 24.3 in New York.

—Medical abortions—generally using the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol—accounted for about 22 per cent of abortions; surgical procedures accounted for nearly all the others.

—About 15 per cent of women who obtained an abortion were married. About 60 per cent had previously given birth to at least one child.

Medical Xpress. November 23.

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