CDC: Abortion rates reach 'historic lows'

The rate of abortions in the U.S. has reached “historic lows” after dropping by double-digits over the last decade, according to a new government report. 

The number of women having abortions dropped 13 percent between 2002 and 2011, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show.


That trend is likely due to lingering effects of the recession, reproductive health experts, such as those at the Guttmacher Institute, have said.

The report also shed light on the number of abortions performed after the politically charged timeframe of 20 weeks of gestation. 

Just 1.4 percent of abortions took place after 20 weeks, which has been the center point of debate in recent years as Republicans, including incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Hoyer says Dec. 15 is drop-dead deadline to hike debt ceiling MORE, have vowed to introduce legislation banning abortions after that timeline.

Nearly 92 percent of all abortions took place before 13 weeks of gestation, the majority of which occurred before 8 weeks.

The rate of abortions decreased among women in every age group except those younger than 15 years old, which increased slightly but remained less than 1 percent of all procedures. 

The biggest drop took place among women aged 15 to 19, which also reported a dramatic decrease in unplanned pregnancies. The rate of abortions in that age group dropped a staggering 34 percent.

The report also highlighted the importance of free or low-cost birth control as a way to reduce unintended pregnancies. While that is now a component of the Affordable Care Act, it was not widely in place in 2011. 

“Efforts to reduce the incidence of abortion need to focus on helping women, men, and couples avoid pregnancies that they do not desire,” the CDC wrote.

Nearly 60 percent of abortions were performed on women in their 20s, and 85 percent of all women who received an abortion were unmarried.