Encouraging news came the day after Thanksgiving: the Centers for Disease Control released their annual report on abortion numbers, showing a 5% decrease. The numbers come from state abortion reports.
Before getting into the details, it’s important to note that three states refuse to collect and report abortion statistics: California, Maryland, and New Hampshire. While the overall abortion numbers are therefore much higher than reported by the CDC, we can still see the overall trends clearly from the 47 states we do have reports from.
Abortions continue to decline in America
A total of 664,435 abortions were reported to CDC in 2013. The reported abortion rate was 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years. The reported abortion ratio was 200 abortions per 1,000 live births. All three measures were 5% decreases from 2012, so there were fewer abortions and a higher percentage of women chose life for their children.
The latest national estimate by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute was 1,085,800 abortions in 2011. Both the Guttmacher and CDC numbers show a long-term decline.
Abortion is aging
Trends continue to show that more abortions are being performed on older women. Teens had 17.4% of abortions in 2004, compared to 11.7% in 2013. Women in the post-college age bracket of 25-34 had 37.9% of the abortions in 2004, but had 42.7% in 2013. The abortion ratios declined in all age groups, however, so both younger and older women are more likely to choose life in 2013 than in 2004. Older women also have much lower abortion ratios than younger women. A dramatic decline in teen abortions is part of the reason for the aging of abortion, but there’s a lot more to the story.
Just 1% are late-term abortions? That’s a lot of late-term abortions!
How many times have you seen politicians or abortion supporters dismiss late-term abortions as “rare” or not worth even discussing?
In the 2013 CDC report there are 40 reporting areas that collected information on how old the child is at the time he or she is aborted. The report showed 5,770 late-term abortions after 20 weeks, or 1.3% of all abortions. A good estimate for the entire nation is about 10,000 abortions every year given the roughly 1 million total abortions. Let’s just look at that reported figure though. How many is 5,770 late-term abortions? It’s 5,770 too many, especially when a large majority of Americans oppose late-term abortions. Compare that to other causes of death nationally, however. The latest CDC numbers showed 4,605 deaths from influenza in 2014. Are deaths from the flu so rare they are not worth addressing?
Just that “small” amount of late-term abortions should highlight the gut-wrenching numbers when looking at overall abortions. Why can’t our public health system devote as much attention to abortion as it does the seasonal flu? The dreaded Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 is estimated to have killed 50-100 million people globally in three years. In the three years from 2010-2013 there have been an estimated 168 million abortions globally. Abortion is not a once-in-a-century pandemic; it takes life on the scale of a permanent pandemic.
Don’t let someone dismiss abortion or late-term abortions as a side-issue; help them learn the facts.
Abortion has a disparate impact on the Black Community
The good news is abortion ratios dropped in every racial and ethnic category in 2013. The bad news is the ratio is much higher in the Black community and it’s not dropping as quickly as other groups. The 2013 abortion ratio per 1,000 live births for non-Hispanic White women was 121, it was 178 for Hispanic women of any race and 420 for non-Hispanic Black women. The drops in abortion ratios from 2007 to 2013 were 23% for non-Hispanic Whites, 17% for non-Hispanic Blacks, and 13% for Hispanics.
Abortion is a cyclical problem that’s not being addressed
Contrary to popular thought, abortion is not a one-time occurrence for most women. Nearly half of abortions are repeat abortions. Of women who had abortions in 2013, 55% were having their first abortion, and 45% were having their second abortion or more. Serial abortion is a serious problem, because 20% of women having abortions in 2013 were having their third abortion or more, and 9% were having their fourth abortion or more. If there are 1 million abortions in the U.S., then 90,000 women every year are having at least the fourth abortion in their lifetime.
Another tragic number is that of women who had abortions in 2013, 60% had already given birth to a child. These are women who probably already sat through an ultrasound with their first child as part of the birth process.
Conclusion? Celebrate more lives saved, but much more effort is still needed!