Abortion Statistics for the United States
According to the latest estimates from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, there were 926,200 abortions performed during 2014 in the United States. That figure is down 42.4 percent from their high in 1990, when an estimated 1.61 million abortions were peformed. From 1973 to 2014 the Guttmacher Institute has estimated a total of 55,542,000 abortions.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also monitors abortions in the United States. Since 1997 they have received incomplete results or no abortion statistics from various states including Maryland, California, and New Hampshire. The latest figures from the CDC were 652,639 abortions in 2014. A total of 44,013,720 abortions have been reported to the CDC from 1973 to 2014.
Using the Guttmacher Institute numbers, we estimate there have been more than 58 million abortions in the United States from 1973 to 2017.
According to the CDC, 44.9 percent of the women who had abortions in 2014 had obtained an abortion previously in their life. 20.2 percent of women who aborted had two or more previous abortions.
In 2014, 36 percent of abortions were performed on non-Hispanic Black women. Only 12.6 percent of the U.S. population is non-Hispanic Black according to the 2010 census.
For further statistics from the CDC, click here.
Abortion Statistics from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Abortion advocates often use a coat hanger to symbolize the "age of back-alley abortions" where women were forced to seek abortions from "unqualified butchers." The number of women who died from illegal "back-alley" abortions was often said to be in the thousands. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics, there were only 39 women who died from illegal abortions in 1972.
To describe illegal abortion providers as unqualified is hardly accurate. Former medical director of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Mary Calderone, described in a 1960 American Journal of Health article that a study in 1958 showed that 84 percent to 87 percent of all illegal abortions were performed by licensed physicians in good standing. Dr. Calderone concluded that "90 percent of all illegal abortions are presently done by physicians." So it seems that the "back-alley butchers" of January 21, 1973, became "caring doctors who believe in a woman's right to choose" on January 22, 1973.
In 1978, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology stated the legalization of abortion "has had no major impact on the number of women dying from abortion" since the results of a study they completed showed that over 90 percent of all illegal abortions were performed by licensed physicians.
Abortion advocates will also claim that a million American women each year were undergoing illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that these statements are highly misleading. The CDC reports that after abortion was legalized in January of 1973, there were 615,831 legal abortions. In 1976 when there were 988,267 abortions. There weren't over a million legal abortions a year in the United States until the end of 1977, five years after abortion was made legal in all states.
Abortion was legal in a handful of states (New York, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, New Jersey, Vermont, and California) before Roe v. Wade and the CDC reports that there were 586,760 legal abortions in 1972.
Consequences of Abortion