Data Reveals Small Uptick in 2006, but Overall Decline over
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has released
its latest available figures on abortion submitted to the federal
agency, which shows an overall decrease in the number of abortions for
the ten years between 1997 and 2006, but with a small uptick in
abortion rates and ratios between 2005 and 2006, which CDC analysts
believe may be attributable to an accompanying rise in fertility rates.
While the CDC report provides an analysis of trends in abortion
patterns, it qualifies that its data reflects approximately 65 to 69
percent of the actual total numbers of abortions in the US: three
states - California, Louisiana, and New Hampshire - do not submit any
abortion data to the federal health agency, and not all reporting areas
use the CDC forms for data collection. CDC data on the rate of
abortions consistently remains 11 percent lower than those figures
recorded by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned
Parenthood, which solicits data directly from abortion providers.
Forty-nine reporting areas show that in 2006, a total of 846,181
abortions were documented. Between 1997 and 2006, the total number of
abortions declined 5.7 percent, the rate of abortions (abortions per
1000 women aged 15-44) declined 8.8 percent, and the ratio of abortions
(abortions per thousand live births) also fell 14.8 percent.
The CDC showed that the greatest rate of decline occurred in the years
between 1996 and 2000, when total abortions fell on average by 20,605
per year. For the years between 2001 and 2006, the number of abortions
fell by a much smaller margin, decreasing an average 2,163 abortions
But 2006, the last year of available collected data, showed a small
uptick in abortion that diverges from this downward trend. The total
number of abortions in 2006 increased from 2005 levels by 3.1 percent:
820,151 abortions up to 846,181 abortions; the abortion rate rose by
3.2 percent from 15.6 to 16.1 (abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44),
while the ratio of women aborting their unborn children remained the
same in both years (236 abortions per 1000 live-births).
However, the CDC surmised that the abortion rate remained stable, and a
rise in overall fertility for 2006 may serve as a likely explanation
for the increase. For that year, the CDC found that the number of live
births and the fertility rate (live births per 1000 women aged 15-44)
increased by three percent, which the CDC said was the "largest
single-year increase in more than 15 years."
The federal agency said that additional surveillance data would be
necessary over the next few years to establish conclusively whether
abortions are increasing without an accompanying increase in fertility.
Women in their twenties accounted for the majority of all abortions, at
56.8 percent. Abortion rates were highest in the 20-24 age demographic,
with 29.9 abortions per 1000 women in that range, and 22.2 abortions
per 1000 women in the 25-29 age group.
Among adolescents, CDC analysts noted that while abortion rates among
adolescents (15-19 years) increased between 2005-2006, the number of
live-births increased by an even greater proportion, which they stated
"might be attributable to an increasing tendency for adolescents to
continue their pregnancies." This is suggested by data that shows the
ratio of abortion continued to decline in that period, despite the
increased abortion rate.
Marital status also had an impact on those who were likely to seek
abortions. Approximately 83.5 percent of women aborting their children
were unmarried in the 43 areas that reported marital status.
In terms of race and ethnicity, whites (including Hispanic whites)
accounted for 55.8 percent of the total number of abortions, with a
rate of 10.8 abortions per 1000 women and 162 abortions per 1000 live
Breaking those values down further: data showed that Hispanic women
account for 20.1 percent of the total number of abortions, a proportion
that has increased over the 10 years between 1997-2006. In 1997,
Hispanic women accounted for 17 percent of abortions. The CDC
this increase could be attributable to the fact that Hispanics now
constitute a greater proportion of the resident US population.
Nevertheless, the overall rate of Hispanic women seeking abortion is
down 19.1 percent from 1997: 28.7 to 23.2 abortions per 1000 women in
that group, along with the abortion ratio: 292 to 223 abortions per
However, black women bear a staggeringly high proportion of abortions,
accounting for 36.4 percent of the total number of abortions. Black
abortion rates (33.9 abortions per 1000 women) and ratios (459
abortions for 1000 live-births) were higher than all the other reported
racial groups. Nevertheless, only among black women did the abortion
rate decline in 2006, in opposition to the general uptick in abortion
that occurred that year.
here to see teh full CDC abstract with accompanying data, including
tables and figures.
Contact: Peter J.
November 30, 2009
to a friend.
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