The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released their annual report on abortion statistics, showing that abortion rates are lower than ever. Though it is unacceptable that abortion should claim the lives of any number of children, it is encouraging to see this improving trend.
Looking at the CDC report is helpful for understanding the dynamics driving the abortion issue. However, it is important to note that the accuracy of the CDC data is not perfect. For example, California, Maryland, and New Hampshire all fail to report annual abortion data to the CDC.
The total number of abortions reported to the CDC in the U.S. decreased 2% from 652,639 in 2014 to 638,169 in 2015. According to the Guttmacher Institute—which polls abortion facilities directly—the total national figure for all 50 states was an estimated 926,200 in 2014. Both sources agree abortion is in decline.
Women in their 20s remain the largest demographic of those who have abortions. However, the average age of a woman having an abortion has been slowly increasing. Teen abortions continue to plummet, with their abortion rate decreasing by 54% since 2006.
The abortion ratio decreased from 2007 to 2015 for the three largest race/ethnicity groups. The ratio is the number of abortions compared to live births, meaning more women are choosing life. There are still large disparities between these groups. The ratio for non-Hispanic white women is 108 abortions per 1,000 live births, 152 for Hispanic women, and 403 for non-Hispanic black women.
A majority of women having abortions already have a child. The repeat abortion rate is high, with 43.6% of abortions being performed on women who have already had at least one prior abortion.
The steady decrease in abortions is encouraging; the hard work of the prolife movement is paying off and more women are choosing life. However, the numbers paint a tragic picture of many 20-something urban minorities who already have one child and believe abortion is their only viable option. Perhaps they are at the abortion facility for the second or third time.
While the prolife movement continues to enhance legal protection for unborn children, we will continue to reach women in desperate situations or trapped in a downward spiral. In order to see a day in which abortion is both illegal and unthinkable, we must educate more people about our supreme value that every human life is valuable.
Director of Communication/Education