Abortion Statistics for the United States: some takeaways

Editor’s note. This appeared on the webpage of Right to Life of Michigan, NRLC’s state affiliate.

According to the latest estimates from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, there were 1.21 million abortions performed during 2008 in the United States.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also monitors abortions in the United States. Since 1997, they have received incomplete results or no abortion statistics from various states including Maryland, California, and New Hampshire. The latest figures from the CDC were 784,507 abortions in 2009.

According to the CDC, at least 44.7% of the women who had abortions in 2009, had obtained an abortion previously in their life. At least 19.5% of women who aborted had at least 2 previous abortions.

In 2009, 35.4% of abortions were performed on African-Americans, who comprise only 13% of the U.S. population.

For further statistics from the CDC, click here [www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6108a1.htm?s_cid=ss6108a1_w].

Abortion Statistics for Michigan

A total of 23,230 induced abortions were reported in Michigan in 2012, which was a 0.59 percent decrease from the total of 23,366 reported in 2011 but a 52.7 percent decrease since 1987 (the year with the largest number of induced abortions).

In 2012, about 49% of the resident women receiving abortions had no previous induced abortions. In general, from 1985 through 2012, a gradual increase has been observed with the proportion of women reporting two or more induced abortions, going from 14.6 percent in 1985 to 25.3 percent in 2012. The proportion of women who had no previous induced abortion has been generally declining, falling from 59.5 percent in 1985 to 49.0 percent in 2012.

The majority of Michigan residents receiving induced abortions (49.3 percent) were under 25 years of age, while 13.5 percent were less than 20 years old. These are much smaller proportions than the 64.6 and 30.6 percent observed, respectively, in 1985. (See Characteristics of Reported Induced Abortions, 1985-2012.)

For further statistics on abortion in Michigan, go to http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/pha/osr/abortion/intro.asp

Abortion Myths

Abortion advocates often use a coat hanger to symbolize the “age of back-alley abortions” where women were forced to seek abortions from “unqualified butchers.” The number of women who died from illegal “back-alley” abortions was often said to be in the thousands. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics, there were only 39 women who died from illegal abortions in 1972.

To describe illegal abortion providers as unqualified is hardly accurate. Former medical director of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Mary Calderone, described in a 1960 American Journal of Health article that a study in 1958 showed that 84% to 87% of all illegal abortions were performed by licensed physicians in good standing. Dr. Calderone concluded that “90% of all illegal abortions are presently done by physicians.” So it seems that the “back-alley butchers” of January 21, 1973, became “caring doctors who believe in a woman’s right to choose” on January 22, 1973.

In 1978, the “American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology” stated the legalization of abortion “has had no major impact on the number of women dying from abortion” since the results of a study they completed showed that over 90% of all illegal abortions were performed by licensed physicians.

Abortion advocates will also claim that a million American women each year were undergoing illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that these statements are highly misleading. The CDC reports that after abortion was legalized in January of 1973, there were 615,831 legal abortions. In 1976 when there were 988,267 abortions. There weren’t over a million legal abortions a year in the United States until the end of 1977, five years after abortion was made legal in all states.

Abortion was legal in a handful of states (New York, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, New Jersey, Vermont, and California) before Roe v. Wade and the CDC reports that there were 586,760 legal abortions in 1972.

Consequences of Abortion

Advocates of abortion claimed that if abortion became legal, child abuse would become less frequent. The National Incidence Study from the National Clearing House estimates that 1,553,800 children in the United States were abused or neglected under the Harm Standard in 1993. This same study estimated that in 1980 there were 625,100 abused or neglected children. This is an increase of more than 148%.

Numerous published scientific studies have found that women who abort a child, especially their first child, have a greater risk of getting breast cancer.

One study found that at least 19 percent of women who abort suffer from diagnosable post-traumatic stress disorder (Barnhard, C., “The Long-Term Psychological Effects of Abortion,” 1990).

In a 1996 study published in the “British Medical Journal,” researchers found that women who had an abortion were 3 times more likely than the general population and 6 times more likely than women who gave birth, to commit suicide in the following year.