Abortion Numbers from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Show a Steady Decline in Overall Numbers Since 2009

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, November 24th, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) preliminarily released its annual “Abortion Surveillance Report” for the year 2019. The numbers continue to show a steady decline in abortions since 2009, although the 2019 survey shows a slight increase in abortions.

“Although abortion advocates will undoubtedly celebrate the slight increase in abortions, no one should be rejoicing in the deaths of unborn babies,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Federal agencies, state, and local governments are seeking to save lives with masks, COVID tests, and vaccines but at the same time abortion is claiming the lives of over 2,000 unborn babies a day and each abortion stops a beating heart.” 

Tobias continued, “Those who advocate for more and more abortions just don’t care about unborn babies or their mothers.”

Relying on reports from health departments across the country, the CDC reported 629,898 abortions for 2019 compared to 619,591 abortions for 2018. While it is an indication of abortion trends, this figure does not provide a complete picture of abortion in the United States. California, the nation’s most populous state, New Hampshire, and Maryland do not report abortion data to the CDC.  

The actual number of abortions reported to the CDC for 2019 was 629,898. However, this number includes abortions reported from the District of Columbia—which did not report abortion numbers to the CDC in 2016. In its comparisons of the numbers, rates, and ratios, the CDC used the figure 625,346 which did not include District’s figures for 2019 because it lacked data from the District for 2016.

In 2019, in the reporting areas included in the report, the CDC found an abortion rate of 11.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years. The CDC found a ratio of 195 abortions per 1,000 live births. 

“The pro-life movement is encouraged that abortions have been reduced by 50% since 1980. The slight uptick in numbers found in this most recent report means that pro-lifers will work even harder to protect innocent unborn lives and their mothers,” said Tobias.

Public policy and pro-life laws have an impact on the number of abortions performed in each state. For example, West Virginia stopped funding abortions through Medicaid in 2018 and abortions in that state dropped 21%. But in Illinois, which started funding abortions through its Medicaid program in 2017, abortions increased by more than 9% for the second year in a row. 

“Poll after poll shows that a majority of taxpayers do not want their tax dollars to pay for abortions,” said Tobias. 

In 2016, the FDA revised its guidelines to allow the use of the abortion drug mifepristone as late as 10 weeks in pregnancy. According to the CDC’s report for 2019, 43.7% of abortions were chemical abortions. 

“The use of the chemical abortion method using mifepristone appears to be on the rise in many states,” said Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., director of Education and Research for National Right to Life. “The number of chemical abortions might be lower if women were told the truth about the deaths and injuries associated with chemical abortion methods. Instead, the abortion industry peddles lies about the ease of the method and pushes for fewer and fewer protections for women undergoing a chemical abortion.”

Dr. O’Bannon continued, “Promoters of these pills like to trumpet high safety rates, but neglect to mention how that with hundreds of thousands of women taking these pills, even a couple of percentage points of women hemorrhaging, dealing with infections, and ectopic pregnancy, represents thousands of women desperately seeking treatment, which may or may not be nearby.”

One recent study showed that emergency room visits by chemical abortion patients increased by 500% from 2002 to 2015. Those numbers would only be expected to grow with more lax safety regulations.

The full report from the CDC can be found here.