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  • Ryan Wittler

Abortions Are on the Rise in the U.S., Reversing a 30-year Decline


A new report from the Guttmacher Institute shows the number of abortions in the U.S. increased from 2017 to 2020, reversing what had been a three-decade decline.

Report highlights:

The report found 930,160 abortions were performed in the U.S. in 2020, an 8% increase from the 862,320 performed in 2017.

  • The U.S. abortion rate similarly rose, increasing from 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2017 to 14.4 per 1,000 women in 2020.

  • Abortions increased across all regions of the country between 2017 and 2020, rising 12% in the West, 10% in the Midwest, 8% in the South, and 2% in the Northeast.

In 2020, one in five (20.6%) U.S. pregnancies ended in an abortion, up from 18.4% in 2017.

  • Guttmacher found the rise in abortion between 2017 and 2020 was accompanied by a 6% decline in births, suggesting that “fewer people were getting pregnant and, among those who did, a larger proportion chose to have an abortion.”

The report is Guttmacher’s latest Abortion Provider Census, representing the 1,687 health care facilities that provided abortions in 2019 and 2020.

  • Guttmacher undertakes the census every three years, completing the present report in May 2022.

State level:

Guttmacher found substantial increases in abortions in Oklahoma (+103% between 2017 and 2020), Mississippi (+40%), and Idaho (+31%).

Substantial decreases were found in Nebraska (-96%), South Dakota (-74%), and West Virginia (-31%).

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