U.S. abortions fall 5%, biggest drop since government started tracking data

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America’s abortion rate fell 5 percent in 2009 in the greatest single-year drop seen since the federal government started tracking data on the procedure.

Some 784,507 abortions were reported in 2009, compared to 825,564 in 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its abortion surveillance report issued in Wednesday’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The abortion rate also fell significantly between 2008 and 2009, from to 15.9 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age to 15.1 abortions per 1,000 women.

Although the number and rate of abortions have been declining steadily since the 1980s, these were the steepest drops seen in a year, said the CDC, which began conducting abortion surveillance on legal abortions in 1969.

In 2009, more than half of abortions were performed on women in their 20s, while women in their 30s accounted for about another 27 percent of abortions.

Teens, aged 15 to 19, had 15.5 percent of all abortions; women aged 18 and 19 had the majority of those abortions.

Not all states report abortion data to the CDC, so its report reflects data from 48 jurisdictions, including Washington, D.C., and New York City. California, Delaware, Maryland and New Hampshire do not report data.

The Guttmacher Institute also issues reports on abortion, using data it collects from clinics and providers in all 50 states.

Its last report, issued in 2011 on 2008 data, found that 1.2 million abortions were performed in the United States, at a rate of 19.6 per 1,000 women aged 15-44.

Guttmacher’s analysis said that while abortion rates have been declining, that trend may be “ending, or at least leveling off.”

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About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.

Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...

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