The Centers for Disease Control has released their latest report on abortion data, covering the year 2016.
States are not required to report abortion data to the CDC, so abortion numbers for some states—including California—are not included in their report. However, with 48 consistent reporting areas, the CDC report is a good indicator of long-term trends of abortion. Importantly, the trends show lives saved!
The overall number of abortions has been steadily declining since the 1980s. The total number reported in 2016 was 623,471 induced abortions in the United States, which was a 2% decrease from the previous year. Abortions have decreased a total of 24% since 2007.
The abortion rate also decreased 2%, to 11.6 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44. The teen abortion rate has decreased a total of 56% since 2007, down to 6.2 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-19.
While more lives being saved and more women choosing life is good news, many abortions continue to occur. Abortion was the second highest cause of death in the United States in 2016 according to CDC statistics. When you add in the states that didn’t report like California, abortion remains the leading cause of death in America.
Most abortions are done in the very early weeks of pregnancy. 65.5% of abortions were performed at or before 8 weeks gestation. 1.2% of abortions were performed during or after 21 weeks. While that seems like a small percentage, 1.2% of 623,471 is more than 7,400, which is a large number of abortions on children who can survive outside the womb or who are close to that point.
Many abortions were also repeat abortions: the 2016 report showed 43.1% of abortions were performed on women who had already had at least one previous abortion.
The trends apparent in the CDC report help us to understand where our efforts to decrease abortion are succeeding the most and where more work is needed. Abortion is trending older as young women have fewer abortions. The abortion industry works to make abortions as easy as possible to retain their declining “customer” base, and many women remain trapped in a cycle of multiple abortions.
The prolife movement has come a long way in shifting the popularity of abortion since the 1980s. There is still much work to be done in creating a culture where unborn children are protected in law and abortion is unthinkable.