Written by Staff Writer
The U.S. abortion rate rose to its highest level in 28 years in 2017, according to new data from the Guttmacher Institute. The group, which publishes a yearly report on abortion and abortion providers, estimated there were 1.73 million abortions in 2017, an increase of 1.7% over 2016 and 17% above the 2011-2017 average of 1.49 million.
The Guttmacher Institute, which provides abortion data to states, compared the 2016-2017 period with the 1981-1982 period, when abortions were last at this level. The organization also looked at five states that had previously experienced declines in abortion use from 2011-2017: Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine and Maryland. Abortion use dropped 7% in those states after having steadily increased from 2008-2011.
A large part of the increase in abortions, according to Guttmacher, may be because the number of abortions among teen girls who are sexually active has increased significantly. The number of teen girls receiving abortions has increased 15% since 2014. This could be a result of increased teen sexual activity as well as increased unintended pregnancy, according to Guttmacher.
A 2017 Guttmacher report from Utah showed the number of abortions performed in the state decreased by more than 13% from 2016-2017, and the number of teen girls who received abortions dropped from 2,237 in 2016 to 1,800 in 2017. But that state also has seen a downward trend in overall abortion rates.
In 2017, Guttmacher estimated there were 353,035 abortions in Utah, an increase of 1.8% from 2016.
As for Iowa, abortion services in the state increased slightly in 2017, from 1,263 in 2016 to 1,307 in 2017.
Nearly 45% of all abortions last year took place before the age of 20.
The number of abortions (1.73 million) accounted for 25% of all pregnancies in the United States in 2017, a level that hasn’t been seen since 1973. Guttmacher attributes that to greater population and a steady rise in the number of women who choose to have an abortion.
In addition to analyzing state abortion statistics, the Guttmacher Institute also estimates how many women are having abortions nationwide, based on 2016 census data.
A separate Guttmacher report found the nationwide abortion rate dropped from a high of 41.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in 1990 to an all-time low of 17.2 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2016.
A 2016 Guttmacher survey found that nine states also reported declines in abortion coverage between 2015 and 2016, while nine states reported increases in abortion coverage. Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee and Texas had the largest decreases, while Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin had the largest increases.