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CDC data: Abortion rates rise slightly

CDC data: Abortion rates rise slightly
© Greg Nash

The abortion rate in the U.S. ticked up slightly from 2017 to 2018, according to data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by 47 states and New York City. 

Two years ago, there were 11.3 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, an increase from 11.2 the previous year, according to the data released Wednesday. 

That amounts to 614,820 abortions reported by 47 states and New York City in 2018, an increase of almost 6,000 abortions from 2017. 

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California, New Hampshire and Maryland did not submit data to the CDC and aren’t reflected in the totals. 

Put another way, there were 189 abortions for every 1,000 live births in 2018, compared to 185 abortions per 1,000 live births in 2017, a figure referred to as the abortion ratio by the CDC. 

The report did not theorize about why the abortion rate rose slightly, but its authors wrote that "unintended pregnancy is a major contributor to induced abortion." 

"Increasing access to and use of effective contraception can reduce unintended pregnancies and further reduce the number of abortions in the United States," they wrote.  

Still, the total number of abortions has declined by 22 percent between 2009 and 2018, with the abortion rate and abortion ratio also dropping in that period.

Between 2009 and 2018, women in their 20s and 30s accounted for the majority of abortions and had the highest rates of abortion.

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Between 2017 and 2018, abortion rates increased among women ages 25 through 39, but did not change for younger or older women.

In 2018, abortion rates were 3.4 times higher among Black women and 1.7 times higher among Hispanic women compared to white women.

The majority of total abortions occurred before nine weeks of pregnancy.