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CDC report: More than 625K U.S. lives lost to abortion in 2021

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – In 2021, 625,978 legal abortions were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The information was provided by central health agencies for 46 states, the District of Columbia and New York City, yielding a patchwork picture of lives lost to abortion in the United States.

Reporting abortion data to the CDC is voluntary, and state-level reporting requirements vary. The public health agency said it was “unable to report the total number of abortions performed in the United States” in 2021, limited, in part, due to the four states that did not provide data – California, Maryland, New Hampshire and New Jersey.

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research and policy organization which also publishes abortion data, classifies New Hampshire as “restrictive” when it comes to abortion; the other three states are considered “very protective” of abortion access. In 2020, California alone administered 154,060 abortions, according to Guttmacher; it also estimated 235,690 abortions were performed that year among all four states who did not submit data to the CDC – approximately 25 percent of all abortions in the U.S. in 2020.

“This new data illustrates the reality that our work to protect life is far from over,” said Hannah Daniel, policy manager for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “As new trends emerge around chemical abortion drugs and ‘abortion tourism’ in this post-Roe era, we must also adapt and combat these areas where evil is being allowed to grow and flourish. We grieve these precious lives lost and commit, once again, to work until the day that abortion is no more.”

From 2020 to 2021 — among 47 continuously reporting areas that provided data every year during 2012-2021 — the total number of abortions increased 5 percent (from 592,939 to 622,108 total abortions); the abortion rate increased 5 percent (from 11.1 to 11.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years); and the abortion ratio increased 4 percent (from to 197 to 204 abortions per 1,000 live births).

However, those same areas (which excludes the District of Columbia) saw the total number of abortions decrease by 8 percent, the abortion rate decrease 11 percent and the abortion ratio decrease 1 percent between 2012 and 2021.

National abortions by demographic

Women in their 20s accounted for more than half of abortions (57 percent), with those 20-24 accounting for 28.3 percent of the national total and those aged 25-29 accounting for 18.7 percent. Adolescents under 15 and women 40 and over accounted for the lowest percentages of abortions nationwide (0.2 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively).

From 2012 to 2021, abortion rates decreased among all age groups except women aged 30-34 for whom it increased; the decrease was highest among adolescents.

Non-Hispanic white women and non-Hispanic Black women accounted for the highest percentages of abortions (30 percent and 41 percent, respectively). White women also had the lowest abortion rate and ratio, while Black women had the highest abortion rate and ratio.

Only 41 areas reported gestational age at the time of abortion, and in those regions more than 80 percent of abortions were performed at or before nine weeks’ gestation, and more than 93 percent were performed at or before 13 weeks’ gestation. 

The majority of abortions (53 percent) were performed by early medication abortion at or before 9 weeks’ gestation; surgical abortions up to 13 weeks’ gestation accounted for 37 percent of abortions and surgical procedures performed after 13 weeks’ gestation accounted for 6 percent. Three percent of pregnancies were terminated with medication after 9 weeks’ gestation, and all other methods were uncommon (less than 0.1 percent).

Using national Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System data, which reviews pregnancy-related deaths, the CDC reported six women who died as a result of legal induced abortions in 2020, the most recent year data was available.The CDC has conducted abortion surveillance since 1969 to document the number and characteristics of women obtaining legal induced abortions in the U.S. Previous reports can be viewed here.

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  • Tessa Redmond/Kentucky Today