Georgette has compiled the latest collection of abortion statistics to help everyone better understand how abortion is used.
The Facts About Abortion
Compiled by Georgette Forney
I recently came across the latest collection of abortion statistics that is annually documented by the Guttmacher Institute and realized that it is important to periodically view this breakdown of data. The statistics can help everyone better understand how abortion is used and by whom. All the bulleted points listed below have been taken from the Guttmacher Institute, which is the best source we have for abortion research as they are closely associated with Planned Parenthood. (www.guttmacher.org/sections/abortion.php)
The study for all the data below is: Jones RK, Finer LB and Singh S, Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients, 2008, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2010. Footnotes provide specific information on other sources.
Anglicans for Life works 24/7 with these numbers in the form of real women who have been affected by abortion, so the second half of this special ‘Abortion’ NewsBrief focuses on those who have personally experienced abortion so you can better understand the long-term consequences many women and men deal with after their pregnancy termination. As the co-sponsor of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, Anglicans for Life works diligently to help women and men find Christian-based Abortion After-Care Healing Programs that introduce them to the forgiveness and friendship of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Once healed, they become billboards for the truth, and their stories help prevent more women from choosing abortion.
I hope that as you review this data, you will realize there are people in your life that contributed to these numbers. Compassionate care can help them to bring their pain to our loving, forgiving, redeeming Lord.
· In 2008, 1.21 million pregnancies ended in abortion in the US.
· Since abortion was legalized in 1973, approximately 53 million abortions have been performed.
· Roughly 14,000 women/year choose to place a child for adoption.
· A total of 20 out of every 1,000 or 2% of American women aged 15–44 had an abortion in 2008. Half have had at least one previous abortion.
· Six in 10 women having abortions are mothers.
· Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion.
· At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45, and, at current rates, nearly one-third will have had an abortion. This number has dropped from 43% in 1992, when abortion rates were much higher.
· Each year, about 10,000–15,000 abortions occur among women whose pregnancies resulted from rape or incest.
· About 90 percent of pregnant women who are given a Down syndrome diagnosis have chosen to have an abortion. (Psychology and Genetics Research Group, Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ Medical School (King’s College), London, UK. Prenat Diagn. 1999 Sep;19(9):808-12.)
· Of the approximately 6.4 million pregnancies in the United States in 2001, 3.1 million were unintended. Approximately 1.4 million unintended pregnancies resulted in births, 1.3 million in abortions and 430,000 in miscarriages.
· Forty-eight percent of women who have unintended pregnancies were using a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant, although many did not use it correctly or consistently.
· Unintended pregnancy is most likely to occur among women who are 18–24, unmarried, black, Hispanic or low-income. 40% of pregnancies among white women, 69% among blacks and 54% among Hispanics are unintended.
· Between 1994 and 2001, the overall rate of unintended pregnancy remained unchanged.
· However, the rate increased by 29% among women living below the poverty level.
· And it fell by 20% among women with incomes above 200% of the poverty level.
· Low-income women (as an example, those earning $17,170 or less in a three-person household) accounted for 514,040 abortions, or 42% of all abortions, in 2008.
· Among states, California accounted for 18% of abortions in 2008.
· Among abortion patients ages 20 and older, 39.5% had some college or an associate’s degree.
· Most women who had an abortion in 2008 had previously had a child; 39.1% had not.
· Women with one previous birth had a substantially higher abortion rate than both women with no children and those with more than one previous birth.
Weeks of Gestation at Time of Abortion:
· Almost 90% of abortions are performed in the first trimester of pregnancy (the first 12 weeks after the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period).
· Sixty percent of abortions occur at or before eight weeks’ gestation—up from just 20% in 1970.
· The proportion of abortions performed very early in pregnancy (at six weeks or before) increased from 14% in 1992 to 28% in 2004.
· Fewer than 2% of abortions are performed after 20 weeks.
· An estimated 0.08% of abortions are performed after 24 weeks, when the fetus may be viable.
Information about RU-486
· Early medication abortion accounted for 17% (199,000) of all nonhospital abortions, an increase from 6% in 2001.
· An estimated one-quarter of eligible abortions (those performed up to nine weeks) were early medication abortions.
· Fifty-nine percent of all known providers offer this service, compared with 33% in early 2001.
Abortions by Race/Ethnicity:
· The largest group having abortions (accounting for 36% of procedures) are non-Hispanic white women.
· Black and Hispanic women together make up more than half (55%) of women having abortions. This proportion is greater than their proportion in the population because they have a higher rate of unintended pregnancy; additionally, black women are more likely than other groups of women to resolve an unintended pregnancy through abortion.
· About 9% of women having abortions are Asian, Pacific Islander or Native American.
Abortions by Mother’s Age:
· Women age 20-24 had the highest abortion rate of any age group, 39.9 per 1,000, followed by ages 18-19 at 34.7 per 1,000 and ages 25-29 at 28.6. The lowest rate was among women 40 and over, with 3.2 per 1,000. The abortion rate for teens ages 15-17 declined 22% from 14.6 to 11.3.
· The majority (58%) of women having abortions are in their 20s.
· Less than 1% are younger than 15, while 17% are aged 15–19.
· More than four-fifths of pregnancies among teenagers are unintended, and teenagers account for more than one in five unintended pregnancies nationwide.
Abortions by Marital Status:
· Two-thirds of abortions are obtained by never-married women. Married women account for a low proportion of abortions (15%), in part because they have a low rate of unintended pregnancy; those who experience an unintended pregnancy are more likely than unmarried women to continue the pregnancy.
· 29% of abortions occur among women living with a male partner to whom they are not married. This is a group at very high risk of unintended pregnancy and abortion.
Abortions by Religious Identification:
· When U.S. women having abortions are asked their religion, 37% say they are Protestant. By contrast, 50% of women 18–44 in the U.S. population identify themselves as Protestant. The difference suggests that Protestant women’s abortion rate is lower than that of all women.
· The proportion of abortion patients who are Catholic is virtually identical to the proportion of all women who are Catholic. Thus, the abortion rate per 1,000 Catholic women aged 18–44 is comparable to that of all women.
· One in five abortion patients say they are “born-again” or “evangelical” Christians.
· Twenty-eight percent of abortion patients claim no religious identification, compared with only 16% of the population.
· 70% of women having abortions believe abortion is immoral.
Facilities Providing Abortions
· Abortion clinics—defined as facilities where half or more of patient visits are for abortion services—provide 70% of all abortions. Other clinics, including some group practices, provide most of the rest.
· The proportion of abortions performed in hospitals has declined markedly, from 22% in 1980 to only 4% in 2008.
· Some 332 doctors provide abortions in their offices, but perform fewer than 400 procedures per year; many of these physicians perform fewer than one abortion per week. Together, they account for only 1% of all abortions.
Preventing unintended pregnancy is fundamental to reducing abortion. The overall abortion rate fell from 35 to 29 per 1,000 women age 15–44. Abortions worldwide also fell, from an estimated 45.5 million in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003.
Why Women Have Abortions
· 1% of abortions are for Rape/Incest victims
· 3% Health of the child after genetic testing reveals an abnormality
· 3% Health of the mother
· 93% of the abortions performed annually are for ‘elective’ reasons that fall into two main categories
· Lacks Financial Support
· Cannot afford a baby now - 73%
· A baby would interfere with school/employment/ability to care for dependents - 69%
· Lacks Emotional Support
· Would be a single parent/having relationship problems - 48%
· Pressure from other individuals (parents, boyfriend) - 74%
· Doesn’t want more children - 38%
*89% of women gave more than one reason. The average number of reasons given was four.
65% of women report some level of pressure or coercion by family, friends, employers, institutions of learning, or sexual predators into having abortions.
Parents threaten to kick the girl out of the home. Boyfriends and husbands may threaten to leave. Women are told by well-meaning friends that having a baby will ruin their lives and they simply have to have an abortion.
· In the US, over 140,000 women a year have immediate medical complications from abortion. 1 This includes problems such as: infection, uterine perforation, hemorrhaging, cervical trauma, and failed abortion/ongoing pregnancy. 2
· Abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 30%.3
· After an abortion there is a higher risk of developing cervical, ovarian, and rectal cancer. 4
· Abortion can lead to infertility; a serious long-term complicationthat often goes undetected for many years. 5
· Abortion can lead to complications in future pregnancies including: premature birth, placenta previa, and ectopic pregnancy. 6
· In the twelve months following an abortion women have a death rate four times greater than women who continued with their pregnancies. 7
· A woman who undergoes an abortion has a suicide risk six times higher than women who have given birth to a child. 8
· It is minorities who suffer from the greatest number of serious complications and deaths after abortion. 9
i This is based on a complication rate of 11% and assuming the yearly abortion rate is 1.3 million US women a year. Most abortion advocates claim the complication rate is only 1%, but this is inaccurate when the data is analyzed. According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the UK, the immediate physical complication rate from abortions is at least 11%, primarily infections that can lead to a host of other problems including pain and infertility. The UK statistics have been recently published in Jan. of 2001; Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (UK). The care of women requesting induced abortion: 4. Information for women. 2000. Find the data at: www.rcog.org.uk/guidelines.asp?PageID=108&GuidelinesID=31--click on Induced Abortion—Care of Women.?This number is probably greater because complications are under reported, but due to the magnitude of abortions in the US many women suffer.
iiThese are included in the web site for n. 2, but for an extended list of research studies documenting these health risks and many others, please see Detrimental Effects of Abortion: An Annotated Bibliography With Commentary Ed. Thomas W. Strahan, published by Acorn Books, Springfield IL, 2001.
iii Brind J, Chinchilli VM, Severs WB, Summy-Long J. Induced abortion as an independent risk factor for breast cancer: a comprehensive review and meta-analysis. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 1996 Oct; 50(5):481-496. ?It is important to note that abortion advocates completely deny these findings, this includes many researchers in the US medical community. But careful study of international literature indicates a strong correlation between abortion and breast cancer. Much like tobacco companies in the past have simply denied that cigarettes endanger the health of their customers, abortion advocates simply deny any research that indicates that abortion is harmful to women’s health and increases their risk for breast cancer.
iv La Vecchia C, Negri E, Franceschi S, Parazzini F. Long-term impact of reproductive factors on cancer risk, International Journal of Cancer 1993 Jan. 21;53(2):215-9, p. 217. ?Albrektsen G, Heuch I, Tretli S, Kvale G. Is the risk of cancer of the corpus uteri reduced by a recent pregnancy? A prospective study of 765,756 Norwegian women. International Journal of Cancer 1995 May 16;61(4):485-90, p.485.?Kvale G, Heuch I. Is the incidence of colorectal cancer related to reproduction? A prospective study of 63,000 women. International Journal of Cancer 1991 February 1;47(3):390-5, p. 392.?
v Frank P, McNamee R, Hannaford PC, Kay Cr, Hirsch S. The effect of induced abortion on subsequent fertility. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1993 June;100(6):575-80.?Heisterberg L, Kringelbach M. Early complications after induced first-trimester abortion. Acta Obstetricia et Gynacologica Scandanavica 1987:66(3):201-4, p.204.?
vi Barrett JM, Boehm FH, Killam AP. Induced abortion: a risk factor for placenta previa. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1981 Dec. 1;141(7):769-72.?Rose GL, Chapman MG. Aetiological factors in placenta praevia—a case controlled study. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1986 June;93(6):586-8.?Taylor VM, Kramer MD, Vaughan TL, Peacock S. Placenta previa in relation to induced and spontaneous abortion: a population-based study. Obstetrics and Gynecology 1993 July;82(10:88-91; p. 91.?Michalas S, Minaretzis D, Tsionou C, Maos G, Kioses E, Aravantinos D. Pelvic surgery, reproductive factors and risk of ectopic pregnancy: A case controlled study. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 1992 June;38(2):101-5, pp.101, 103.?Luke B. Every Pregnant Woman’s Guide to Preventing Premature Birth, 1995 [foreword by Emile Papiernik], New YorkTimes Books; p.32.?
vii Gissler M, Kaupila R, Merilainen J, Toukomaa H, Hemminki E. Pregnancy-associated deaths in Finland 1987-199—definition problems and benefits of record linkage. Acta Obstetricia at Gynecologica Scandanavica 1997 Aug;76(7):651-7.?This statistic is important to note because many of these deaths are due to complications from the abortion and are documented as such. Thus, the presenting cause of death will be the complication, not the abortion that caused it.
viii Gissler M, Kauppila R, Merlainen J, Toukomaa H, Hemminki E, Pregnancy-associated deaths in Finland 1987-1994: register linkage study, British medical Journal 1996 December 7;313(7070):1431-4.?
ix Goldner TE, Lawson HW, Xia Z, Atrash Hk. Surveillance for ectopic pregnancy—United States, 1970-1989. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Centers for Disease Control Surveillance Summary 1993 December; 42((SS-6)):73-85.?Council on Scientific Affairs AMA. Induced termination of pregnancy before and after Roe v Wade. Trends in the mortality and morbidity of women. Journal of the American Medical Association 1992 Dec. 9;268(22):3231-9.?
Women and men who have gone through an abortion often experience guilt, sadness, fear or anger afterwards. This type of experience is commonly referred to as Post-Abortion Stress or Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS).
Approximately 40% of women in abortion recovery programs experience intense PAS, however many women will experience some symptoms. The emotions associated with PAS will manifest themselves in a variety of ways, such as:
· 92% Experience emotional deadening (described as either feeling less in touch with their emotions or feeling a “need to stifle their emotions”)
· 86% Feel an increased tendency toward anger or rage (48% reported they became more violent when angered)
· 86% Have a fear of others learning of the abortion or a greater sense of fear for unknown reasons
· 82% Experience intense feelings of loneliness or isolation
· 75% Report less self-confidence
· 73% Report some sexual dysfunction (Increased pain during intercourse, promiscuity, frigidity, or loss of pleasure)
· 63% Experience denial (Respondents were asked, “Was there a period of time when you would have denied the existence of any doubts or negative feelings about your abortion?” Of those responding yes, the average period of denial that they reported was 5.25 years.)
· 58% Suffer from insomnia or nightmares
· 57% Express difficulty in maintaining/developing relationships
· 56% Experience suicidal feelings
· 53% Increase or begin using drugs and/or alcohol to deaden the pain
· 39% Report eating disorders that began after the abortion
· 28% Actually attempt suicide
An internet based survey of men conducted through June 1999 had 65 responses by post-abortive men, 57 of them reported grief and sadness, 54 felt anger and 54 had relationship problems, 52 had persistent thoughts about the baby, 49 had guilt, 40 felt confusion about the male role, were sad at certain times of the year, had sexual and sleeping problems, and 31 reported alcohol/drug abuse.2 Chances are good that you know someone who has had an abortion.
** This data is taken from AFL’s Brochure, “Help for Hurting Hearts.”
I had an abortion because I felt ashamed to be a young girl still in high school, not married, and pregnant. I didn’t have the strength to face the criticism; I didn’t know how I could face the many challenges of having a child. I had a full scholarship for college and had many goals and ambitions. My father and the doctors I saw reassured me that it was in my best interest to have an abortion, that I had too much “going for me.” Wow, what a lie.
During the abortion I distinctly remember the classical music that played throughout the room as I was injected, still aware but slightly dazed throughout the whole devastating procedure. As it progressed I remember the music escalating, until it was quite. I watched them place my baby in a jar of some form, and that was the end of it. IMMEDIATELY after I was regretting my decision, my heart ached.
As time went on I felt empty, still feeling shame, but now accompanied by guilt and regret. I never took my scholarship, I declined last minute. I isolated myself from friends and family. I had a pain that felt too large for me to handle, I felt so alone, afraid. I always pretended I was OK, never wanting to accept the actuality of what happened, “I was OK”, but after many years I realized I couldn’t hold this lie in any more.
I remember I had a doctor’s appointment and it asked if I had ever been pregnant, for the first time, I answered ‘yes.’ I remember the shame I felt in wondering what the girls behind the desk would think of me. As I sat in the waiting room, I was reading a book, “Freedom from Fear” by Neill Andersen. I remember reading the verse John 8:36 “...the truth shall set you free.” Later that night I decided to look online to see if there were any post abortion Bible studies, I came across I website...At the very bottom of the website was the same verse, John 8:36. I knew God was talking to me, so I joined the group (SaveOne) and have received amazing healing throughout my entire ordeal. I sought counsel and was guided by my Pastor. My boyfriend at the time (the father of the baby, who remained with me since), never knew of the abortion, after 7 years, and us still together, I finally told him. We married the next year.
God has blessed me beyond belief, I am truly set free. Abortion is a lie. It has changed me completely, but through Jesus Christ I have renewed LIFE! Life so abundantly! I look forward to meeting my baby Grace one day, she is so beautiful!
In 1982 my wife--Tracy--at the time was abusing me. This began within the first 30 days of marriage and continued for three years. It was during this time that she became pregnant. When she was having morning sickness--while working in a nursing home--she asked a nurse for some Tylenol. Because she was getting sicker she thought the nurse had given her Tylenol with codeine. She went to the doctor to get some medication to counter the codeine. She took this for two weeks before our doctor suggested she have a pregnancy test. It was positive.
With the medications she was on and the fact we were so dysfunctional we decided to get an abortion.
Six months or so had passed when the Holy Spirit touched my heart and I had a conversion about the abortion we had. I’m sorry to say she did not. Later that year, she had an affair with a co-worker and got pregnant. Why she shared that with me I don’t know but she did.
She informed me that she was going to have another abortion. I tried to talk her out of it and that I would be willing to raise the child with no obligation on her part. She refused.
It was from that time on that I became more and more depressed over my loss. I began missing hugging my child and later telling him that he had become a fine young man. Over time this became a constant thought in my mind to the point I would be in tears.
Twenty three years later, I met my loving wife Maria. While dating I shared with her my abortion. She also had a past that caused her pain for she had worked at an abortion clinic. We were seeing a counselor for our pre-wedding issues. The counselor told us about Rachel’s Vineyard.
During the weekend of the retreat of which, I was the only man there in the group that had an abortion; I was in tears most of the time. They were tears of released pain from so many years of suffering. However, as the weekend continued, those tears turned to tears of healing.
At the end of the retreat, the group had to make a small talk about the weekend and how it had helped. I volunteered to be first. I got out about two words when my heart took over. I could hardly finish my talk. It was like I was talking directly to my son.
Today, I still have times when I miss the ability to give my adult son a hug and tell him what a great job he has done with his life. The pain though has passed and for that I am very grateful to my Father, Son and Holy Spirit for leading me to my wife and to our counselor.
May those who have had an abortion and have yet to seek help-woman or man-I hope this might help you move through your pain.
If you or someone you know wants to learn more about abortion recovery, there is help.
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...and read more testimonies of hope.