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Abortion rates in US increased by 5% in 2021, the final year it remained a constitutional right under Roe: CDC

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(NEW YORK) — Abortion rates increased by 5% in the United States in 2021, the final year the procedure remained a constitutional right under Roe v. Wade, according to new federal data.

In 2021, there were 625,978 abortions reported, according to an annual report published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is a rate of 11.6 abortions per 1,000 women between ages 15 and 44.

This is a decrease from a decade earlier when there were 669,202 abortions reported in 2012 with a rate of 13.1 per 1,000 women. However, it is up from the 620,327 abortions reported in 2020 with a rate of 11.1 per 1,000 women.

The report also looked at some demographics of who is receiving abortions in the U.S. In 2021, women in their 20s accounted for more than half of abortions at 57%.

Comparatively, adolescents under age 15 and adults aged 40 and older made up the lowest percentages of abortions at 0.2% and 3.6%, respectively.

The authors also noted the percentage changes may show the continuing decrease in adolescent pregnancies in the United States.

“From 2012 to 2021, national birth data indicate that the birth rate for adolescents aged 15–19 years decreased 53%, and the data in this report indicate that the abortion rate for the same age group decreased 41%,” they wrote. “These findings highlight that decreases in adolescent births in the United States have been accompanied by large decreases in adolescent abortions.”

There were also significant racial/ethnic disparities in abortion rates. Black women were the most likely group to obtain an abortion at 41.5%. White women were the second most likely group at 30.2% and Hispanic women were the third most likely at 21.8%.

In other terms, white women had the lowest abortion rate at 6.4 abortions per 1,000 women and Black women had the highest abortion rate at 28.6 abortions per 1,000 women.

The report also found that most patients getting an abortion have already had children.

When looking at what stage of pregnancy abortions were occurring in, the report found that an overwhelming majority occurred before 13 weeks’ gestation, which is around the beginning of the second trimester.

Data showed 80.8% occurred at 9 weeks’ gestation or earlier and 93.5% occurred before 13 weeks’ gestation.

Additionally, 53% of those first-trimester abortions relied on medications. Medication abortions are a non-surgical form of abortion in which someone usually takes two pills to end a pregnancy.

Experts have previously stated that few abortions happen in the second and third trimesters and the data showed just that. Just 5.7% of abortions occurred between 14 and 20 weeks’ gestation and 0.9% occurred at or after 21 weeks’ gestation.

The CDC did not include data in the report about why patients opt for abortions at various stages of pregnancy.

However, the federal health agency said there are many reasons that determine the incidence of abortions including “access to health care services and contraception; the availability of abortion providers and clinics; state regulations, such as mandatory waiting periods, parental involvement laws, and legal restrictions on abortion providers and clinics; and changes in the economy and the resulting impact on family planning decisions and contraceptive use.”

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