Wednesday, December 2, 2020

CDC Releases 2018 Abortion Data

CDC building

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control released its annual abortion surveillance report. First, two caveats:

  • Reporting is always a couple of years behind. This report covers the 2018 calendar year. Obviously, it does not account for the impact of COVID-19; we likely won't have that data until 2022.
  • CDC data are incomplete, because state reporting to the CDC is voluntary and some pro-abortion jurisdictions—most notably California—refuse to participate. Therefore, the number of abortions reported by the CDC is not reliable, and we will not be repeating it here. (The more reliable source for total abortions is the Guttmacher Institute, which reported 862,320 abortions in the United States in 2017.) However, since the CDC's data collection is flawed in the same way year after year, the CDC's reporting on abortion trends is generally trustworthy.
The CDC reports that in 2018, there were 11.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years (the abortion rate), and 189 abortions per 1,000 live births (the abortion ratio). The long-term trend is positive: since 2009, the abortion rate has decreased 24% and the abortion ratio has decreased 16%. In the short term, however, there has been a sad uptick: between 2017 and 2018, the abortion rate increased 1% and the abortion ratio increased 2%. The CDC concludes:
Among the 48 areas that reported data continuously during 2009–2018, decreases were observed during 2009–2017 in the total number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions, and these decreases resulted in historic lows for this period for all three measures. These decreases were followed by 1%–2% increases across all measures from 2017 to 2018.
The CDC reports that 77.7% of abortions were committed at or before nine weeks, and of those, half were chemical abortions. Nine percent of abortions were committed in the second or third trimester; using the Guttmacher Institute's figure of 862,320 total abortions, we can estimate that 77,609 babies with a gestational age of 13 weeks and older were killed by abortion in 2018. 

Forty percent of abortions in 2018 were repeat abortions. Nearly sixty percent of abortion customers in 2018 had given birth at least once previously.

Abortion continues to have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. One third of abortion victims were the children of Black women, even though only 13.4% of the general U.S. population is Black. Black women had the highest abortion rate (21.2 abortions per 1,000 women) and ratio (335 abortions per 1,000 live births)

Before you get too discouraged, it's important to note that abortion rates and ratios varied tremendously from state to state. The best numbers came from Missouri, where a strong pro-life movement has closed down all but one abortion business. Missouri's abortion rate was 2.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years and its abortion ratio was 40 abortions per 1,000 live births. Other states with pro-life policies also enjoyed below-average abortion rates and ratios. Compare that to extreme pro-abortion outliers like New York City (26.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years and 457 abortions per 1,000 live births) and Washington, D.C. (25.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years and 518 abortions per 1,000 live births).

The CDC correctly notes that "[m]ultiple factors influence the incidence of abortion, including access to health care services and contraception; the availability of abortion providers; state regulations, such as mandatory waiting periods, parental involvement laws, and legal restrictions on abortion providers; increasing acceptance of nonmarital childbearing; and changes in the economy and the resulting impact on fertility and contraceptive use." Many of these factors are within our control, as a society. Let the CDC's report motivate you to do everything in your power to save even more children from abortion!

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