HealthDay News — There was a significant rise in both the number and rate of abortions in the United States between 2017 and 2020, the Guttmacher Institute reported Wednesday.
The research group, which supports the right to abortion, said there were more than 930,000 abortions nationwide in 2020, compared with about 862,000 in 2017, which was the fewest since the procedure became legal in 1973. About one five U.S. pregnancies ended in abortion in 2020, and medication abortions accounted for 54% of abortions that year, the first time that method was used in more than half of abortions, Guttmacher said in its report.
In 2020, the abortion rate was 14.4 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, an increase from 13.5 per 1,000 women in 2017. Abortions rose by 12% in the West, 10% in the Midwest, 8% in the South, and 2% in the Northeast.
The Guttmacher data were released as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion. The number of women now having abortions highlights a need and “underscores just how devastating a Supreme Court decision is going to be for access to an absolutely vital service,” Sara Rosenbaum, a George Washington University health law and policy professor, told the Associated Press.
The Guttmacher figures also showed that there were 3.6 million births in the United States in 2020, which is lower than in 2017.
The institute conducts the most detailed report on abortion providers in the United States every three years, and its figures are considered more complete than those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which leaves out several states, including California, the most populous state, according to the AP.