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Latest CDC report finds number of abortions drops 5% in 2013

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released its annual “Abortion Surveillance Report,” for 2013 and found the number of abortions had decreased by 5% from 2012.

Relying on reports from 47 state health departments, the CDC reported 664,435 abortions for 2013.

The CDC numbers  provide a snapshot into the continuing downward trend in abortions. However this figure does not provide a complete picture of abortion in the U.S. because it does not include abortion data from California, the nation’s most populous state, New Hampshire, and Maryland.

In addition to the decline in the absolute numbers of abortions, the CDC finds that both the abortion rate, (the number of abortions for every 1,000 women of child-bearing age) and the abortion ratio (the number of abortions per 1,000 live births) have declined.

The CDC found an abortion rate of 12.5 abortions for every 1,000 women aged 15-44 in the 47 states included in the report–a drop of 5% from 2012. The CDC found a ratio of 200 abortions per 1,000 live births.

Putting the numbers in historical perspective, the CDC wrote

Among the 47 areas that reported data every year during 2004–2013, the decreases in the total number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions that occurred during 2009–2012 continued from 2012 to 2013, resulting in historic lows for all three measures of abortion

“The decline in the number of abortions, and in the abortion rates and ratios, is a clear indication that pregnant women are increasingly less likely to see abortion as the desired solution to an unexpected pregnancy,” said Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., National Right to Life director of education and research. “Right-to-life legislative, educational and outreach efforts to increase awareness of the unborn child’s humanity certainly continue to play a critical role in the abortion decline.” 

It is concerning, however, that the number of chemical or “medical” abortions continued to rise–22% in 2013– a clear indication that the aggressive push of these by the abortion industry and its media allies is having some impact. These abortions are nowhere near as simple or as safe as the promoters of the abortion pill promised. Instead chemical abortions are grueling, bloody, and painful.

Moreover, because this abortion technique  has enabled the industry to expand abortion to smaller, more lightly staffed locations that may not possess the medical facilities or equipment of larger clinics or doctors with the surgical training to handle chemical abortion complications or failures, they are potentially more dangerous.

“We give thanks that more women are rejecting abortion and choosing life for their unborn children,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “But we must remain vigilant in the face of an abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood, that not only continues to perform hundreds of thousands of abortions every year, but continues to deny the damage abortion does to mothers, their children and our society as a whole.


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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