Since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, abortion bans have become more controversial.
Once a landmark legislation that provided women with the federal right to access abortion, it has now left states with the decision to restrict or outright ban abortion rights.
To date, abortion services and policies still vary from state to state. What are the current statistics on abortion-related issues? Let's check out some valuable numbers.
- 73 million induced abortions occur annually.
- There has been a 48% decline in abortion rates in the US.
- 98% of medical abortions are effective.
- 50% of the states in the bottom 10 for child poverty have banned abortion outright.
- There are 2.2 million women who live in places with no obstetricians, birth centers, or obstetric care.
- States with restrictive abortion laws have shown a 38% increase in maternal mortality.
- Childbirth is 3.5 times more deadly for black women than for white women.
- 16 states have a near-total abortion ban, and 12 remain in effect.
- California, Michigan, and Vermont have explicitly added reproductive health and rights amendments to their state constitutions.
Abortion Rates Statistics
While abortion is considered a basic healthcare right for women, it has become less accessible as laws ensuring safe and legal abortion services become tighter.
The following statistics outline the declining number of induced, unsafe, and current abortions in the United States:
1. 73 million induced abortions occur worldwide every year.
Induced abortions are pregnancy terminations through the use of medication or medical procedures. 90% of all induced terminations happen during the first trimester of pregnancy.
From this, 6 out of 10 unplanned pregnancies end in an induced abortion. In 2020, women in their 20s performed 57% of all abortions.
2. African-American and Hispanic women perform 72% of all abortions in the US.
In the United States, most abortions were among people of color. African-American women comprise 39% of abortions performed annually. White and Hispanic women account for 33% and 21%, respectively.
3. 75% of women who have abortions are in poverty or are from low-income backgrounds.
(Guttmacher Institute, National Library of Medicine)
Disruption of school and career, lack of parental support, and poverty are reasons women choose induced abortions.
Furthermore, one study showed that three-quarters of those who get an abortion do so due to work, school, or other responsibilities.
4. 20 million unsafe abortions are performed annually.
Of this, 5 million women who live through unsafe abortions also report long-term health problems. Despite the risks, many lacking access to reproductive healthcare often suffer traumatizing ordeals to get an abortion.
Immediate health risks associated with unsafe abortions include incomplete abortions, heavy bleeding, infections, and damage to internal organs.
5. 68,000 women die of unsafe abortions every year.
Every year, unsafe abortions are one of the most common causes of maternal deaths. In developing countries, abortion laws are highly restrictive or downright nonexistent. Unsafe abortions kill one woman every 8 minutes.
6. Abortion rates have declined by 48% in the United States.
Between 1990–1994 and 2015–2019, abortion rates dropped by 48% in the United States. In this same period, unplanned pregnancy rates declined by 23% due to more accessible contraceptives and progressive reproductive health policies.
Medical Abortion Statistics
A medical abortion is a medical procedure that uses oral or vaginally inserted medication to end a pregnancy. This procedure does not require surgery and may be taken as late as the ninth week of pregnancy.
The most common FDA-approved drug used to induce medical abortions is mifepristone. While medical abortions are 98% effective, not following instructions might cause incomplete abortions, infections, and pain.
Here’s why and how:
7. 492,210 medical abortions were performed in 2020.
(Wiley Online Library)
Following the FDA's approval of mifestrone in 2000, medical abortions now account for 53% of all abortions in the US.
Medical abortions also incur only a 0.4% risk of major complications. While certain risks are still involved in medical abortions, the mortality rate for this procedure is less than 0.001%.
8. 95% of all abortions in the US were performed within clinics.
(Wiley Online Library)
With relatively more widespread sexual education in the US, it's no wonder that most medical abortions occur in clinics nationwide. Aside from abortion care, clinics provide other sexual and reproductive health services. Clinics also provide access to contraceptives and STI care.
Most of the time, only physicians can perform abortions. However, in certain states, such as the District of Columbia, nurse practitioners and midwives can also provide medication abortions.
9. Planned Parenthood provided 355,000 unwanted pregnancies.
Planned Parenthood clinics are one of the leading reproductive healthcare providers, with more than 600 health centers across the US.
However, the closures of Planned Parenthood clinics have drastically increased in recent years. It is primarily due to funding cuts and legislative exclusions in states such as Texas.
10. Oklahoma reports a nearly 2500% increase in abortions from women in Texas.
Since Texas's crackdown on abortion services and the closure of clinics, women have been flocking to nearby states for abortion care. States surrounding Texas, such as Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, and Missouri, have reported an 800% increase in abortion rates from Texas since 2020.
Colorado Planned Parenthood clinics have reported a 1000% increase in abortion patients from Texas. New Mexico, one of the poorest states, allows for legal abortion at all stages of pregnancy. They also report a 100% abortion increase in patients from Texas.
11. 95% of telehealth-provided medical abortions are effective.
Telehealth abortions show similar efficacy rates to in-person medical abortions. Before COVID brought the US to a standstill in 2022, medical abortion via telehealth was virtually unheard of.
The FDA's rule that only licensed clinicians may personally dispense mifepristone limited it. This requirement was temporarily suspended during the pandemic to cope with the public health emergency.
However, by the end of 2021, the FDA permanently removed in-person dispensing requirements for mifepristone.
- 19 states and DC can allow the dispensing of abortion medication by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, or nurse-midwives.
- 24 states and DC allow for abortion without telehealth restrictions.
- 13 states have statewide abortion bans and full telehealth medication abortion restrictions.
Abortion Law Trends Statistics
States with the most restrictive abortion laws provide the weakest support for maternal care. Without governmental safety nets like longer child tax credits, these women must carry the fetus to term.
The poorest Americans are at risk from restrictive abortion laws. See the impact of abortion laws with these statistics:
12. 42% of births are Medicaid-funded.
Medicaid covers 85.9 million people in the United States. It provides health coverage to:
- Low-income adults
- Pregnant women
- The elderly
- People with disabilities
Individual states control Medicaid eligibility, and both provide funding under federal regulations.
39 states have adopted Medicaid expansion via the Affordable Care Act provision. Eight of the 12 states that did not adopt the expansion have banned abortion outright, while two others are currently attempting to do so.
13. 50% of the states in the bottom 10 for child poverty have banned abortion outright.
Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Mississippi take the lead in restricting abortions while having little to no social safety nets. New Mexico is an outlier, as it continues to allow abortions at all stages of pregnancy.
14. 23.5% of Mississippi has no access to maternal healthcare.
There are 2.2 million women who live in places with no obstetricians, birth centers, or obstetric care. 4.8 million people live in areas with very little access to maternity care.
Mississippi currently holds the title of having the highest percentage of women living in maternal care deserts.
15. States with restrictive abortion laws show a 38% increase in maternal mortality.
(American Journal of Preventive Medicine)
Maternal mortality is the death of a female during or within 42 days of pregnancy termination. Despite being a high-income country, the US has higher maternal mortality rates than most wealthy countries.
Changes in legislation and fiscal allocation have affected women's access to reproductive health services. In turn, this has contributed to rising mortality rates among childbearing women.
16. Childbirth is 3.5 times more deadly for black women than for white women.
(National Diaper Bank Network, PRB)
Black maternal mortality is often tied to structural racism and social, political, and economic equality in health care access. Severe bleeding and blood vessel blockages also impact black women more than twice as much as white women.
17. Planned Parenthood clinics have reported closures in 27 states, with an average reduction rate of 35%.
(American Journal of Preventive Medicine)
Due to legislative hostility towards abortion and a lack of funding, some Planned Parenthood clinics have closed in numerous states.
However, closing Planned Parenthood clinics by 20%, along with gestational age limits, has been shown to increase maternal mortality rates by 8%.
18. In 2021, maternal deaths rose by 40% compared to 2020.
One of the worst death rates for mothers in history was 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in the US.
Overall, 1,205 women died of maternal causes. Women older than 40 were also more likely to die during childbirth, 6.5 times more than women 25 or younger.
19. A 1% rise in state unemployment increased maternal mortality rates by 23%.
(American Journal of Preventive Medicine, The Economic Journal)
Consistent with data from the Great Recession, unemployment significantly impacts mortality rates. Unemployment worsens health and increases drug and smoking habits.
Disadvantaged mothers from African-American, Hispanic, less educated, and unmarried backgrounds also experience more decline in health than white, married, and college-educated mothers.
20. 58% of childbearing women and girls ages 13–44 live in states hostile to abortion.
Currently, 16 states have a near-total abortion ban, and 12 remain in effect. Sixty-six clinics have since stopped providing abortion care, and 1 out of 3 clinics providing abortions has closed entirely.
With this, women must travel to other states or countries for legal abortion care. More importantly, unsafe abortions will most likely be the last resort for women who cannot afford to travel out of state.
21. 77 abortion protections were enacted in 2022 alone.
(Center for American Progress)
¼ of all legislated protections were enacted in California, which also committed to providing an additional $200 million for reproductive healthcare.
New Mexico has committed an additional $10 million in funding for a new clinic near its Texas border. California, Michigan, and Vermont have explicitly added reproductive health and rights amendments to their state constitutions.
The Bottom Line
Due to state law and its effects on women over the past two years, statistics on abortion are likely to change in the coming months.
Overall, we can see that race, class, and wealth significantly impact abortion statistics. Restrictions on abortion only make things worse for low-income women.
Women also continue to find ways, albeit at a greater cost, to get an abortion. It impacts millions of women who do not want children or cannot afford them.