U.S. abortion numbers drop to lowest ever

Abortion numbers have not been this low since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion on demand in 1973. The Guttmacher Institute, formerly Planned Parenthood’s research arm, collects data from every abortion facility in the country. The Centers for Disease Control also issues an annual abortion report. However, it is not as complete because the federal government does not require states to report abortion data to the CDC. 

A recent abortion statistics report by the Guttmacher Institute showed a significant drop in both the number of abortions and the abortion rate between the years 2014 and 2017, when the number of abortions dropped from 926,200 to 862,320. The abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 years) decreased by 8 percent, to 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women, down from 14.6 in 2014 and 16.9 in 2011. Abortion rates have dropped a full 20 percent from 2011 statistics. The Guttmacher report also found that the number of abortion facilities in the United States declined by 5 percent during the years 2014 to 2017.

Unfortunately, the report also found that the number of chemical (RU-486) abortions has jumped dramatically. In 2001, five percent of abortions were chemical and the rest were surgical. By 2014, these comprised 29 percent of the total. That number jumped to 39 percent in 2017. “The rise in so-called medication abortion should concern us all as it reveals the abortion industry’s increasingly successful effort to cut the overhead costs of surgical abortion while still profiting off the destruction of unborn children,” explained Chuck Donovan, president of the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute. Donovan also noted that chemical abortions have a higher rate of injury for mothers.

Michael New, a visiting professor at Catholic University and an associate scholar at Charlotte Lozier Institute says a major reason for the drop in rates is that almost 400 pro-life laws went into effect during that same timeframe. New says polls are showing a higher percentage of people identifying as pro-life.


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