A deeper look at the CDC abortion numbers: Part Three

By Dave Andrusko

By the time you finish this post, I trust it will be clear why this is the third of what we four stories about the latest abortion figures from the Centers for Disease Control. For reasons known only to the CDC, it always releases its latest abortion analysis right around Thanksgiving—in this case, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Next week, Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRLC’s director of Education & Research, will take a deep dive in the state abortion numbers. It’ll be worth your while to read.

So, by now, you know the basics. I will summarize them very, very briefly, before moving on to other facets of abortion in America.

*The CDC, unlike Guttmacher, publishes numbers yearly. The trade off is Guttmacher’s numbers (which are released roughly every third year) are more accurate.

Why? Unlike the CDC, which relies on the kindness of state health departments (some of the largest states ignore the CDC), Guttmacher active engages abortion facilities. That’s why its estimates there were 862,320 abortions in 2017 while the CDC’s numbers for 2016 were 623,471.

*The CDC (as did Guttmacher) tells us that the number of abortions, the number of abortions for women of child-bearing age (the abortion rate), and the number of abortions for every thousand live births (the abortion ratio) have dropped to “historic lows.”

Every lost baby is one too many, but this is incredibly important news.

So, why a Part Three?

*All of these components could not have reached “historic lows” unless we had helped establish a new vocabulary about the littlest Americans, a more complex understanding about whose life is taken, and a deeper recognition that –whatever position a woman or a man ultimately takes—“one of us” is destroyed in every abortion.

Pro-abortionists can talk till the cows come home that the decline is almost exclusively explained why the wider use of more effective contraceptives. (NRLC has no position on contraception.) But it’s not so. For one thing, the number of repeat abortions continues to remain alarmingly high even as other categories continue to decline.

For another, as National Review pointed out, “Data from Guttmacher show that between 1981 and 2011, the percentage of unintended pregnancies that resulted in an abortion fell from approximately 54 percent to 42 percent.” Also, as Dr. O’Bannon explained, “It’s not just that there are fewer abortions, but that fewer women who become pregnant are turning to abortion.”

Put another way, hypothetically you could have a higher number of abortions just because you have a larger population of women ages 15-44 or a much lower number just because this population of women of child-bearing age decreased.

But the abortion ratio gets around this problem of how [in] frequently pregnant women are choosing life or abortion. It tells us the number of abortions for every 1,000 live births.

According to the CDC, there were just 186 abortions for every 1,000 live births. The abortion ratio reached a peak of 364.1 for every 1,000 live births in 1984!!

One more reason for Part Three:

*Let me quote directly from Dr. O’Bannon’s analysis:

By far, the largest percentage of abortions were those performed on women in their twenties: a total of 58.5% on women 20-29. Of these 30% were performed on women aged 20-24, 28.5% for women 25-29. About a third (28.3%) were to women in their thirties and just a small percentage (3.5%) were to women aged 40 and older.


Those aged 19 and younger were responsible for less than one in ten (9.7%) of all abortions. Two-thirds of those (according to a separate CDC table) were performed on the oldest teenagers–18 or 19.

The CDC shows that the portion of abortions going to younger teens has been decreasing in the last ten years along with their rates and ratios, demonstrating the continued impact of parental involvement laws. [Underlining added.]

Protective laws make a difference, which is why pro-abortionists fight them tooth and nail. Involving parents in the abortion decision of minors (specially 17 and under) makes a huge difference, which is why the Abortion Lobby pulls out all the horror stories to try to combat passage of laws requiring teens tell their parents with provisos for judicial bypass should there be genuine reasons for a minor not to tell a parent.

Keep an eye out for Dr. O’Bannon’s second look at the latest CDC numbers which will appear next week.

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