Abortion Statistics

Abortions stay level in 2021 as Minnesota begins post-Roe era

Latest state numbers show chemical abortion expansion, need for commonsense protections

By Paul Stark, MCCL Communications Director

MINNEAPOLIS — Abortions in Minnesota inched downward in 2021, according to a report just released by the Minnesota Department of Health. A total of 10,136 abortions were performed in the state, a two percent drop from the 2020 total.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, abortions have not skyrocketed, and women continue to choose life and get the support they need in Minnesota,” said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. “Now, as we move into a post-Roe v. Wade era, it’s important to support and empower women and to enact commonsense protections for unborn children.”

Abortions in Minnesota have dropped 47 percent since their peak in 1980 but have leveled off in recent years. Chemical abortions, however, reached an all-time high of 6,154 in 2021—61 percent of all abortions in the state. While the abortion totals for the main abortion centers in Minnesota stayed level or slightly dropped, the abortions attributed to “independent physicians” rose significantly, perhaps reflecting the rise in mail-order abortions offered by an online abortion practitioner in Minnesota. 

Planned Parenthood, which had increased its abortion total for nine consecutive years, saw a slight drop in 2021. The group still performed 70 percent of all abortions in the state. 

“Chemical abortion drugs post real risks to women’s health, and those risks are increased when they are sent to women without any in-person medical evaluation first,” said Fischbach. “This is an area where Minnesotans can come together to protect women.”

The 2020 abortion total was updated after one abortion center failed to properly report its abortion numbers last year. The updated 2020 figure of 10,339 represents a 4 percent rise over 2019 in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The abortion rate, however, fell to 7.6 (abortions per 1,000 Minnesota women of reproductive age) in 2020, compared to 8.3 in 2019. The estimated rate for 2021 (using 2020 population numbers) is 8.5.

The number of abortions performed on minors dropped to 209 last year, the lowest number on record.

Even after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision, Doe v. Gomez, continues to require legalized abortion in Minnesota. Nevertheless, Minnesota has enacted important laws such as Woman’s Right to Know and Positive Alternatives, which help support and empower women and reduce the number of abortions. 

“The governor and the Legislature must come together to advance commonsense legislation to protect unborn children and their mothers and to make abortion more rare,” said Fischbach. “Unfortunately, Gov. Walz has pledged to oppose any limits on abortion. But most Minnesotans reject the extremism of that position.”

The following is additional information from Induced Abortions in Minnesota January – December 2021:

  • A total of 221 abortions took place at 20 weeks gestation or later (there were 262 in 2020). The latest abortion took place at 25 weeks. 
  • The suction abortion procedure accounted for 33 percent of all abortions (down from 38 percent in 2020). Chemical abortions accounted for 61 percent (up from 55 percent). Dilation and evacuation (D & E) dismemberment abortions numbered 611 and accounted for 6 percent (687 in 2020).
  • Rape, incest, and risk of impairment of a major bodily function were reasons given for less than one percent of abortions combined (consistent with past years). 54 percent of women cited “does not want children at this time” (compared with 53 percent in 2020). 13 percent cited “economic reasons (17 percent in 2020). In 35 percent of cases, the reasons are unknown or the woman declined to give a reason. 
  • 41 percent of women had undergone one or more previous abortions (42 percent in 2020). 
  • Complications: 118 complications were reported occurring at the time of the procedure, including cervical laceration and hemorrhage (there were 109 in 2020); 87 complications were reported occurring following the procedure, including 27 cases of “incomplete termination of pregnancy” (there were 89 post-operative complications reported in 2020). 

Five abortions resulting in a born-alive infant were reported (zero in 2020 and three in 2019); none survived.

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