Abortions Down In NC, Steady Nationwide
Special Report - January 18, 2011
North Carolina continued a downward trend in its abortion rate, despite the national rate changing little, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute. The report, released January 11th, is based on Guttmacher’s 15th census of all known abortion providers in the country, “Abortion incidence and Services in the United States, 2008.”
The United States experienced a steady decline in the abortion rate (defined as the number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44) since 1981 until the rate ticked up slightly in 2008. That year, the 19.6 abortion rate was up slightly from 19.4 in 2005, but still considerably lower than the 29.3 rate in 1981. The numbers mean that nearly one-in-five of the 6.4 million pregnancies in the U.S. in 2008 ended in abortion.
North Carolina fared slightly better than the national average with a rate of 17.5 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age, representing 17 percent of the 193,500 pregnancies in the state. The state’s rate is down significantly from 18.8 abortions in 2005. North Carolina makes up for 2.7 percent of all the abortions in the nation. The state-specific numbers do not differentiate between North Carolina residents and non-residents, but rather count all abortions performed within the state’s boundaries. North Carolina did see a 16 percent drop in the number of abortion providers in 2008 compared to 200531 providers down from 37.
The report noted that the “long-term decline in abortion has stalled,” while “medication” abortions have increased. These medication abortions (such as the abortion drug, mifrepristone, or RU-486) are most common in nonhospital facilities. In 2005, there were 161,000 medication abortions in nonhospital facilities, accounting for 14 percent of all nonhospital abortions. That number jumped to 199,000, accounting for 17 percent of all nonhospital abortions in 2008. “That early medication abortion is becoming more widely available is good news,” according to the report’s lead author Rachel Jones. “U.S. government reports have shown that abortions are increasingly occurring earlier in pregnancy, when the procedure is safest. Increased access to medication abortion is helping to accelerate that trend.”
Also noteworthy among the report’s findings are the characteristics of women having abortions. According to the Guttmacher report:
- 58 percent are in their 20s.
- 61 percent have one or more children.
- 85 percent are unmarried.
- 69 percent are economically disadvantaged.
- 73 percent report a religious affiliation.
- 36 percent are white, 30 percent are black, and 25 percent are Hispanic.
- About one-third of American women will have had an abortion by the age of 45.
NC Teen Pregnancy Rates Hit a New Low - October 19, 2010
Panel Recommends Contraceptive Drug - June 23, 2010
Teen Birth Rate Moves Downward - April 13, 2010
Young Americans Object To Abortion - January 29, 2010
NC Abortion Profile Updated - November 3, 2009
Sixth Circuit Addresses RU-486 - August 24, 2009
Planned Parenthood Abortions Outweigh Adoptions - April 23, 2009
Abortion Decreasing, Especially Among Teens - September 26, 2008
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