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1 in 4 U.S. Women Will Have an Abortion in Their Lifetime
  • Posted April 30, 2024

1 in 4 U.S. Women Will Have an Abortion in Their Lifetime

As the battle over abortion continues to rage in the courts and American politics, a new report estimates that one in every four U.S. women will undergo the procedure during their lifetime.

The study was issued by the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization focused on sexual and reproductive health that supports access to abortion. 

Researchers there surveyed nearly 6,700 U.S. women who accessed clinical abortion care at 56 non-hospital facilities in 21 states between June 2021 and July 2022. That's just prior to the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Using that and other data, the Guttmacher researchers found that 20- to 24-year old women had the highest rate of abortions (32.7 abortions per 1,000).

This survey did not include women who managed their abortions outside of the formal health care system.

The statistic showing that a quarter of women will undergo an abortion "confirms what we already know: Abortion is a normal part of the reproductive lives of people with the capacity to become pregnant," said Rachel Jones, principal research scientist at Guttmacher.

"Bans and restrictions are designed to stigmatize abortion, but our study shows one in four women is expected to have an abortion in their lifetime," she said. "That means that almost everyone, including abortion opponents, knows someone who has had an abortion."

Other data from the report:

  • Adolescents ages 15 to 17 had the lowest rate of abortions, at 2.1 per 1,000

  • 58% of all women surveyed said this was their first abortion

  • 57%"59% women in their 30s and 40s who were surveyed said this was not their first abortion

  • 13% of women could be expected to have an abortion by the age of 25

Another recent Guttmacher report found that between 2020 and 2023, rates of abortion rose by about 10%, which might push the percentage of women who get an abortion in their lifetime even higher.

The report was published recently in the journal Contraception.

More information

Find out more about the various forms of abortion at Planned Parenthood.

SOURCE: Guttmacher Institute, news release, April 29, 2024

What This Means For You

If you're a woman who's had an abortion, you're certainly not alone: About 1 in every 4 U.S. women will have the procedure during their lifetime.

HealthDay
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