The number of abortions reviewed by federal authorities, based on data up to 2013, has fallen to their lowest level in decades, a report released Wednesday revealed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the abortion rate of 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years in 2013 was down 5 percent from 2012 and 20 percent from 2004.
The latest annual report, which incorporated data from 47 states, showed the abortion rate in 2013 was half of 25 recorded in 1980. A similar record low in abortion rate was last seen in 1971, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision established the nationwide right for women to have abortions. In the U.S., abortion is considered a safe medical procedure with a safety record of over 99 percent.
The CDC tallied 664,435 abortions in 2013 from the 47 states. Data from California, Maryland and New Hampshire was not collated, because of which the report's total is less than the widely accepted current estimate of more than 900,000 abortions per year across all 50 states.
Several factors may have led to a decline in abortion rate, according to the CDC, such as a big drop in adolescent pregnancies, expanded coverage of contraception costs by health care plans, and increased use of effective, long-lasting contraceptive methods.
Below are some other facts pointed out in the CDC report:
- Women in their 20s accounted for more than 58 percent of abortions and had the highest abortion rates. Young women and girls aged 19 and under make up 11.7 percent of abortions.
- Two-thirds of abortions were performed within the first eight weeks of gestation, and nearly 92 percent by 13 weeks. Only 1.3 percent of the abortions were performed after 20 weeks — a practice anti-abortion activists have called for a ban on. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to support such a ban.
- The abortion rates in states have varied widely, from 3.6 per 1,000 women in Mississippi to 24.3 in New York.
- About 22 percent were medical abortions, generally using the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, while the others were mostly surgical procedures.
- About 15 percent of women who got an abortion were married.
- About 60 percent of women who underwent abortion had previously given birth to at least one child.
Data from the National Center for Health Statistics released earlier this year indicated similar abortion trends. In May, the Pew Research Center reported both the teen birth and teen abortion rates had fallen sharply across the past few decades.
“Of the roughly 700,000 pregnancies among teens in 2009, about 58 percent are estimated to have ended in live births, 25 percent in abortions and 17 percent in miscarriages or stillbirths,” according to the report.
During a GOP debate in February at the University of Houston, Trump said he supported limited health care options for women. "As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I'm pro-life," he stated. "I'm totally against abortion, having to do with Planned Parenthood. But millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood."
The following month, Trump suggested there should be some sort of punishment for women who get abortions. "The answer is there has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said, adding it was a "very complicated position."