How many abortions have occurred in the U.S. since legalization in 1973? What are some characteristics of women who have abortions?
It’s estimated that around one million abortions take place annually and more than 51 million abortions have been performed in the U.S. since 1973 (based on accumulative data from the two primary sources of U.S. abortion statistics – Centers for Disease Control and Guttmacher Institute).
Reported number of legal abortions in the United States for selected years according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2010 Abortion Surveillance Report (see graph).
*At first glance, the table listed above appears to show a considerable drop in the number of reported abortions performed in the U.S. between 1997 and 1998. Upon closer examination, however, the decrease is more moderate.
Here’s why: In 1998 and 1999, the number of abortions reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) excluded data from four states — Alaska, California, New Hampshire and Oklahoma — which did not provide information. In subsequent years, several states, including California, did not provide data to the CDC.
In order to compare reported abortions in 1997 to the subsequent years, the CDC recalculated abortion totals for 1995, 1996 and 1997, minus these non-reporting states. The adjusted numbers of reported abortions are as follows:
In 2010, three states — California, Maryland and New Hampshire — did not report abortions to the CDC. The number of reported abortions in 2008, in these three states, totaled 251,680, the majority in California. That puts the estimated number of U.S. abortions in 2008 at 1,017,331.
The lack of uniform, mandatory abortion reporting for all 50 states hampers the CDC’s ability to accurately report the number of abortions performed in the U.S, as evidenced in the 1998 to 2010 reports.
According to the 2010 CDC report:
According to the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the nation’s leading abortion seller, Planned Parenthood: