Source: Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2005 and National Abortion Federation, Fact Sheet, 2003.

Unintended Pregnancy and Abortion in the U.S.

  • Each year almost 50% of all pregnancies among American women are unintended.
  • Every year, about 1.3 million women choose to terminate their pregnancy with abortion.

Women Who Have Abortions

  • 35% of all women of reproductive age in America today will have had an abortion by the time they reach the age of 45.
  • Women who have abortions are from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Women of all faiths and religious backgrounds have abortions.
  • Of the women having an abortion
    • 31% are in school.
    • 68% are employed.
    • 27% live below the poverty line and another 31% are low income.
  • Over 80% of the women getting abortions are unmarried.
  • 52% of the women having an abortion have never had a previous one.

Contraception and Abortion

  • More than half (54%) of the women getting abortions reported that they used contraception during the month they became pregnant.
  • If abortion were used as birth control a typical woman would have 30 abortions in her lifetime.

Barriers to Abortion Services

  • Some of the most common barriers women experience to getting an abortion include:
    • Long distances to reach an abortion provider
    • Cost of the procedure/lack of insurance
    • State restrictions, such as waiting periods or parental involvement laws

Reasons Why Women Have Abortions

  • Many women who have abortions believe it is the most responsible thing a woman can do; 52% plan to have children at another time.
  • About 13,000 women each year have abortions because they have become pregnant as a result of rape or incest.
  • The most common reasons why someone has an abortion include:
    • Finances
    • Not ready
    • Life changes
    • Too young

Timing of Abortion

  • About 90% of all abortions are obtained in the first 12 weeks.
  • Some common reasons for late term abortions include:
    • Didn’t realize I was pregnant
    • Difficulty making arrangements for procedure
    • Afraid to tell parents or partner
    • Time needed to make decision

After Abortion

  • Research shows that relief is the most common emotion following an abortion. Women at risk for poor post-abortion adjustment are those who do not get the support they need, or whose abortion decisions are actively opposed by people who are important to them.