Abortions fall 5%, largest drop in decade
Health • Rate was 15.1 abortions per 1,000 women in ’09.
Published: November 21, 2012 05:24PM
Updated: March 6, 2013 11:33PM

Los Angeles • The rate of abortions in the United States fell by 5 percent, the largest single-year decrease in a decade, researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.

The decline is outlined in the annual abortion data for 2009, the latest available. It was published Wednesday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

About 18 percent of all pregnancies in the United States end in abortion, the CDC noted. The annual numbers are based on voluntary reports from states and some other municipalities. A few states, such as California, which is the most populous, do not report. That explains why the CDC said there were about 785,000 abortions in 2009, while other estimates put the number at more than 1 million.

The abortion rate for 2009 was 15.1 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing years, defined as 15 to 44 years old. The abortion ratio was 227 abortions per 1,000 live births. Those numbers represent a 5 percent decrease in the total number and rate of abortions from 2008 and the largest single-year drop during the decade. There was a 2 percent drop in one year in the abortion ratio, the CDC said.

From 2000 to 2009, the total number, rate and ratio of reported abortions decreased 6 percent, 7 percent, and 8 percent, respectively, to the lowest levels at the end of the decade, it said.

Mississippi had the lowest abortion rate, at four per 1,000 women of child-bearing age. The state also had only a couple of abortion providers and has the nation’s highest teen birthrate. New York, second to California in number of abortion providers, had the highest abortion rate, about eight times that of Mississippi.

White women had the lowest abortion rate, at about 8½ per 1,000 women of child-bearing age, while the rate for African-American women was four times larger. Latinas’ abortion rate was about 19 per 1,000 women of child-bearing years.