An explanation of how NRLC calculated the total number of abortions since 1973 along with new factsheet on abortion statistics


By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL Director of Education & Research

Randall K. O'Bannon, Ph.D.

Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D.

When we published an estimate of the number of abortions earlier this year, we noted that it was provisional, awaiting the expected publication of new abortion data from the Guttmacher Institute.

Our original calculations had assumed the status quo for the years from 2008 through 2011 which proved, happily, not to be the case.

Guttmacher released its data on February 3rd. According to Guttmacher, there were 1.06 million abortions in 2011 (the last year for which it had data), which is a 13% drop in abortions from 2008; it also showed the lowest abortion rates and ratios in forty years.

stats14newGuttp1reThus we are able to report that we have revised our estimate of the total number of abortions since 1973 downward–from 56,622,169 to 56,405,766.

Our hope is that even this total proves to be an overestimate. To calculate the final total here, we projected that the number of abortions would remain at 1.06 million in both 2012 and 2013.

But it would be better news if the downward trend recently reported by Guttmacher continues. Unfortunately, Guttmacher takes a long time between surveys and it may be a number of years before we know for sure.

In the meantime, keep up the good work. As you can see, we’ve made a huge difference and saved a lot of lives!

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