NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

American Women Undergoing Fewer Abortions

October 9, 2002

Abortion rates fell steadily in the later half of the 1990s, according to a report from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a leading research institute on abortion statistics. The steepest declines occurred among high-school-age girls.

  • There were 1.31 million abortions in 2000 -- down from 1.42 million in 1994 and 1.56 million in 1987.
  • From 1994 to 2000, the abortion rate dropped 11 percent.
  • Declines were noted among women with high incomes, those with college degrees and nonreligious women.
  • At the same time, however, abortion rates rose among poor women -- especially those on Medicaid -- and among women ages 20 to 30, as well as among the unmarried, blacks and Hispanics.

Abortion rates for teens ages 15 to 17 registered the largest decline of any group -- dropping 39 percent from 1994 to 2000. Some observers believe laws requiring parental consent or notification before teens can have abortions played a role in lowering both teen pregnancy rates and abortion rates. Others have linked the reductions in abortions to cuts in abortion funding, restricted access to clinics and a lack of trained doctors.

Source: Cheryl Wetzstein, "Abortion Rates Decline in Late 1990s," Washington Times, October 9, 2002.


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