U.S. Abortion Rate Continues to Decline, Reaching Historic Low in 2017
Regional and State Disparities in Abortion Access Have Widened
September 18, 2019
News Release, Guttmacher Institute
The U.S. abortion rate dropped to 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 2017, the lowest rate recorded since abortion was legalized in 1973 and an 8% decline from 2014, according to a new Guttmacher report by Rachel Jones, Elizabeth Witwer and Jenna Jerman. The number of abortions also declined to 862,320 in 2017, 7% fewer than in 2014. Birthrates declined in almost all states during this period, indicating that fewer people became pregnant, not that more individuals chose or were made to give birth rather than have an abortion.
The Guttmacher Institute’s 18th census of all known abortion-providing facilities in the United States identified 808 clinic facilities providing abortions in 2017, a 2% increase from 2014. However, during that time, longstanding regional and state disparities in abortion access grew even more pronounced: The number of clinics increased in the Northeast (by 16%) and the West (by 4%) and actually decreased in the Midwest (by 6%) and the South (by 9%). In 2017, 89% of U.S. counties did not have a clinic that provided abortion services, and 38% of women of reproductive age lived in these counties.