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Abortion statistics at a glance

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Abortion remains a significant and contentious issue globally, with varying legal statuses and cultural attitudes influencing its practice. Understanding abortion statistics helps provide a clearer picture of its prevalence, trends, and the factors influencing its rates. Here is an overview of abortion statistics, focusing on key data points from the United States and around the world.

Global Abortion Statistics

Worldwide Prevalence

  • Annual Global Abortions: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are approximately 73 million induced abortions worldwide each year.
  • Abortion Rates: The global abortion rate is about 29 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-49.
  • Regional Variations: Abortion rates vary significantly by region, with higher rates typically observed in regions with restrictive abortion laws. For example, Africa and Latin America have higher rates compared to Europe and North America, despite the latter having more liberal laws.

Legal Status

  • Legal Restrictions: About 37% of women of reproductive age live in countries where abortion is prohibited or only allowed to save the woman’s life.
  • Access to Safe Abortions: In countries where abortion is legal and accessible, the procedure is generally safer, with fewer complications and lower maternal mortality rates.

United States Abortion Statistics

Annual Abortions

  • Reported Abortions: In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 629,898 abortions in 2019.
  • Abortion Rate: The abortion rate in 2019 was 11.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, continuing a long-term decline from previous decades.

Demographic Characteristics

  • Age: The majority of abortions (57.7%) were obtained by women in their 20s. Women aged 20-24 accounted for 28.3%, while those aged 25-29 accounted for 29.4%.
  • Race and Ethnicity: Non-Hispanic Black women had the highest abortion rate (23.8 per 1,000 women aged 15-44), followed by Hispanic women (11.7) and non-Hispanic White women (6.6).
  • Marital Status: Unmarried women accounted for 85% of all abortions.
  • Gestational Age: Most abortions (92.7%) were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation, with 6.2% at 14-20 weeks and 1.2% at ≥21 weeks.

Reasons for Abortion

  • Socioeconomic Factors: The most commonly cited reasons for having an abortion include financial instability, interference with education or career, and the inability to provide adequate care for another child.
  • Health Reasons: Some abortions are sought due to concerns about the health of the mother or fetus, although these account for a smaller proportion of overall abortions.

Trends Over Time

Declining Rates

  • Long-Term Decline: Abortion rates in the United States have been declining since the early 1980s, with significant decreases observed over the past decade.
  • Factors Influencing Decline: Increased access to contraception, comprehensive sex education, and changes in societal attitudes toward family planning are key factors contributing to the decline in abortion rates.

State Variations

  • State Laws and Access: Abortion rates vary widely between states, influenced by differing state laws, availability of abortion providers, and socioeconomic factors.
  • Restrictions and Bans: Several states have enacted restrictive laws, including mandatory waiting periods, parental consent requirements, and gestational age limits. Some states have also passed near-total bans on abortion, which are often subject to legal challenges.


Abortion statistics provide critical insights into the prevalence, demographics, and trends related to abortion. Globally and within the United States, these statistics highlight the significant impact of legal, social, and economic factors on abortion rates. Understanding these data points is essential for informed policy-making, public health planning, and addressing the needs of women seeking reproductive healthcare.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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