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Beginning of Life

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U.S. Abortion Statistics By Year (1973-Current)


Based on numbers reported by the Guttmacher Institute 1973-2012,  with projections of 1,058,490 for 2013-15. GI estimates a possible 3 percent under reporting rate, which is factored into the overall total. [1/16]

Significant Downward Trend

After reaching a high of over 1.6 million in 1990, the number of abortions performed annually  in the U.S. appear to have dropped to about 1.06 million a year.

Two independent sources confirm a downward trend: the government’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute (GI), which was once a special research affiliate of abortion chain Planned Parenthood.

The CDC ordinarily develops its annual report on the basis of data received from central health agencies (50 states plus New York City and the District of Columbia). GI gets its numbers from direct surveys of abortionists conducted every few years.

Because of these different data collection method, GI consistently obtains higher counts than the CDC. CDC researchers have admitted it probably undercounts the total because reporting laws vary from state to state and some abortionists may not report or under-report. Increases and decreases for the CDC and GI numbers usually roughly track each other, though, so both sources provide useful information on abortion trends and statistics. The CDC also stopped reporting estimates for some states in 1998, making the discrepancy larger.

Abortions from CA and NH have not been counted by the CDC since 1998, and other states have been missing from the totals during that time frame: OK in 1998, AK from 1998 to 2002, WV in 2003 and 2004, LA in 2005 and 2006, MD in 2007 to 2012. For areas that did report, overall declines were seen from 1998 through 2012. The CDC showed a decline of nearly 125,000 abortions from 2007 to 2012.

Guttmacher's latest report also shows a significant recent decline, seeing abortions fall 13 percent from 2008 to 2011. Most all of this decline appears to have occurred at clinics with annual caseloads of a thousand abortions a year or more. The number of abortions with RU-486 and other chemical abortifacients were up despite the overall decline.

Cumulative abortions since 1973 were generated using GI figures through 2011 and then using the 2011 number as a projection for 2012 through 2015. Then a 3 percent undercount GI estimates for its own figures was added, yielding the total above.

Reported Annual Abortions - 1973-2012

1973 744,610 615,831
1974 898,570 763,476
1975 1,034,170 854,853
1976 1,179,300 988,267
1977 1,316,700 1,079,430
1978 1,409,600 1,157,776
1979 1,497,670 1,251,921
1980 1,553,890 1,297,606
1981 1,577,340 1,300,760
1982 1,573,920 1,303,980
1983 1,575,000 1,268,987
1984 1,577,180 1,333,521
1985 1,588,550 1,328,570
1986 1,574,000 1,328,112
1987 1,559,110 1,353,671
1988 1,590,750 1,371,285
1989 1,566,900 1,396,658
1990 1,608,600 1,429,247
1991 1,556,510 1,388,937
1992 1,528,930 1,359,146
1993 1,495,000 1,330,414
1994 1,423,000 1,267,415
1995 1,359,400 1,210,883
1996 1,360,160 1,225,937
1997 1,335,000 1,186,039
1998 1,319,000 884,273 *
1999 1,314,800 861,789 *
2000 1,312,990 857,475 *
2001 1,291,000 853,485 *
2002 1,269,000 854,122 *
2003 1,250,000 848,163 *
2004 1,222,100 839,226 *
2005 1,206,200 820,151 *
2006 1,242,200 846,181 *
2007 1,209,640   827,609 *
2008 1,212,350 825,564 *
2009 1,151,600 789,116 *
2010 1,102,670 765,651 *
2011 1,058,490 730,322 *
2012 1,058,490 ** 699,022 *
2013-15 1,058,490 **  
* Excludes NH, CA, and at least one other state
** NRLC projection for calculation

Updated: January 2016

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