Abortion Statistics

Further details on the CDC report on abortion numbers for 2019

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. Please also read NRLC’s “Abortion Numbers from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Show a Steady Decline in Overall Numbers Since 2009.

Continuing its longstanding established habit of releasing results the day before Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that there was a slight increase in the number of abortions for 20l9, the latest year data was available.

The CDC, which relies on reports from health departments across the country (continuing  a pattern, California, the nation’s most populous state, New Hampshire, and Maryland did not report abortion data), the CDC calculated  629,898 abortions for 2019 as compared to 619,591 abortions for 2018. 

“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.”

Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRLC Director of Education & Research, pointed out that “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.” In addition, “The CDC found a ratio of 195 abortions per 1,000 live births.”

However, “the 2019 numbers are still a decrease of 1.3% from the 638,169 abortions recorded in 2015, and nearly 18% lower than what was recorded in 2010 (765,751),” according to Carol  Novielli . “These abortion numbers also remain drastically lower (by nearly 57%) than their highest peak of 1,429,247 abortions reported in 1990.”

For perspective, from 2010 to 2019, the abortion rate decreased an amazing 21% (from 14.4 abortions per l,000 women ages 15-44  to 11.4 per 1,000), and the abortion ratio decreased 13% (from 225 abortions per 1,000 live births to 195 abortions per 1,000 live births).

Minorities hurt most

According to the CDC, “Non-Hispanic White women had the lowest abortion rate (6.6 abortions per 1,000 women) and ratio (117 abortions per 1,000 live births), and non-Hispanic Black women had the highest abortion rate (23.8 abortions per 1,000 women) and ratio (386 abortions per 1,000 live births.”  In 2019, “Compared with non-Hispanic White women, abortion rates and ratios were 3.6 and 3.3 times higher among non-Hispanic Black women and 1.8 and 1.5 times higher among Hispanic women.”

Very noteworthy is that the increase in abortion were concentrated in just a handful of states. “Among the 48 areas that reported data continuously during 2010–2019, overall decreases were observed during 2010–2019 in the total number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions,” the CDC reported.

Number of chemical abortion increases

Chemical abortions are on the rise, not surprising in light of the  FDA’s decision to revise its guidelines in 2016 to allow the use of the abortion drug mifepristone as late as 10 weeks of pregnancy. The CDC’s reported 43.7% of abortions were chemical abortions in 2019. 

 “The use of the chemical abortion method using mifepristone appears to be on the rise in many states,” said O’Bannon. “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.” 

As Dr. O’Bannon explained in an article for NRL News Today,

For example, “a recent five-state study of abortion by telemedicine by some of the nation’s top abortion researchers claimed a “success” rate of 94%, leading authors to claim that their method was “safe, effective, efficient, and satisfactory.” But only 177 of the original 248, or just 71% of those who were mailed the drugs were actually known to have “successfully” aborted with the pills. Some of these ended up having surgical abortions, a couple more continued their pregnancies, but the outcome for the other 23% of patients is unknown.

Even if the failure rate were “only”6%, this would still represent a significant number of women having to seek medical help to surgically or chemically complete the abortion or find emergency assistance to deal with the bleeding, or to address other complications that arose. Even at that rate, this would represent more than 20,000 women if projected for all “medication abortion” patients in the country.

But if large numbers of patients are lost to follow-up, even that high failure rate is a minimal projection. This study and many similar other studies, show it is a serious mistake to assume failure and complication rates for missing telemedicine patients to be similar to those returning to the clinic or for whom the outcome is otherwise known.

From 2002 to 2015, the rate of abortion-related emergency room visits following a chemical abortion increased over 500%, according to an analysis of Medicaid claims data. Over the same period, chemical abortions within the study population increased from 4.4% to 34.1% of total abortions.

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