Given that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe vs Wade, it is only pertinent that we take a good look at the abortion scenario in America today. According to data published a few months ago, abortion in America has changed with time. Today, a much lower number of teenagers are getting abortions as compared to a few years ago, and the majority of women who seek abortions are already mothers.
Abortion in America
About half of the abortions today are done within the first 6 weeks after conception and nearly all of them are done within the first 3 months. From the many surveys that have been done and data that has been collected, it is evident that the typical woman who comes in for an abortion is in her late 20s, unmarried, poor, very early in her pregnancy cycle, and has some form of a college education.
That said, abortion in America is common among women during their reproductive years. According to data gathered by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, about 25% of women in the US will get an abortion at some point during their reproductive period. According to another expert on reproductive health, abortions are not limited to a single demographic or section of people. People who have already given birth are also very likely to get an abortion at some point later.
State of abortion in America
Studies have shown that the number of abortions in America today has reduced to almost half of what it was 30 years ago. This is due to a drastic reduction in the number of unwanted pregnancies aided by reduced sexual activity among teenagers and the increased use of contraceptives.
With the ruling in Roe vs Wade overturned, it will have devastating effects on the lives of women who are in dire need of abortion services. This will directly impact the economy of the whole country as well.
Using published statistical data, we’re explaining the various characteristics of people who get an abortion in America.
The woman is already a mother
60% of women who come in for abortions are already mothers who have at least one child. 50% of these women have 2 or more children. That is, 30% of them, or 3 out of every 10 women who get abortions already have 2 children or more. This is from data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019. According to them, a major reason why women want to abort their pregnancies is so they can take better care of their existing kids.
The woman is in her late twenties
Almost 30% of women seeking abortion services are in the age group of 25 to 29. In fact, 57% of women getting abortions are in their twenties. Only 9% of women are in their teens and 35% are above the age of 30 years. Till the early nineties, the percentage of teens getting abortions was much higher. But since 1991, there has been a drastic reduction in teen pregnancies and hence, a drop in teen abortions as well. More and more American women are planning to have children later in life rather than early on.
The woman has a very low income
In 2014, 49% of women who got abortions were below the poverty level. Another 26% were on the threshold of poverty. As per surveys done by Guttmacher, women with low incomes are increasingly getting more abortions every year. Researchers theorize that this is because women who earn well have easier access to contraceptives and that poorer women are becoming more aware of the increasing costs of raising children. It could also be due to charities offering financial support for these women to get abortions.
When people on a low income and without access to proper healthcare and contraception end up with an unplanned pregnancy, they tend to abort it more than others.
The woman is in her first trimester
In America, 43% of abortions are within the first 6 weeks of pregnancy. 92% of all abortions are within the first 13 weeks. These are the statistics even though a lot of the political debate surrounding abortion is on abortions that take place during later stages of pregnancy. In the Roe vs Wade ruling in 1973, the constitutional right to abort a fetus is up to the 23rd week of pregnancy. Now that this ruling is overturned, 22 states are poised to either reduce the time given for legal abortions or ban abortion altogether.
The Mississippi law enacts an abortion ban after the 15th week of pregnancy. Going by the numbers, around 21,500 women in the United States got abortions before the 15th week. This represents only about 4% of all the women seeking abortions in America. If this law were to stand throughout the country, it would severely impact the well-being of women. They will be forced to go through with an unwanted pregnancy simply because they were not aware of it before the 15th week. Women who receive abortions after this time period are usually poor or have health complications.
The woman has attended some college
Around 41% of women who got abortions had some sort of college education. 27% of them had a high school education while 9% had no school degree at all. 23% of abortions were on women who were college graduates.
The share of women who are attending college and getting themselves a significant education is increasing. Women are delaying pregnancy and having children in order to complete school, have a stable career and support themselves before they can start a family.
The woman is unmarried
Almost half (46%) of women who got abortions have never married and are single. 14% of them are married and 31% are cohabitating or living with a partner. The group of unmarried mothers shows the greatest decline in birth rate and unwanted pregnancies.
The woman lives in a blue state
Pro-Democratic states contributed to the highest portion of women who had abortions in 2019. This could indicate the cultural acceptance of the practice of aborting a pregnancy in certain regions of the country and also more access to abortion services. In states that are more Republican-leaning, abortion is already either under ban or has severe restrictions on citizens. Many states have just one clinic offering abortion services. Hence, it becomes difficult for people to travel to these clinics. These states also have increased restrictions on contraceptives.
Even then, the states that have shown a reduction in abortion rates are those that offer extensive access to abortion services. On the other hand, in states that restrict abortion access, the rate of abortions has likely increased. Roughly 33% of the total abortions are in the 22 states that would ban abortion now that Roe vs Wade is out. Many of the women seeking an abortion would then invariably travel to other states that offer abortion access. Others would resort to means outside legal boundaries.
The woman has not had an abortion before
Almost 60% of women who get an abortion have never gone through the procedure before while around 25% of women have had one abortion previously. Less than 20% of women have had two or more than two abortions before. People are not looking to abortion as a means of birth control, they are looking to it as a way of preventing financial hardship or unprepared parenting from happening.
The woman has had a surgical abortion
Reports show that about 56% of all abortions are through surgical means. Women who want an abortion have two options – either get it through surgery or by using pills. Using pills causes a miscarriage which aborts the fetus.
More women are choosing medical abortions year on year. The Food and Drug Administration is thinking of changes in current regulations. This will make it easier for doctors to prescribe medical pills for abortions. If this is successful, medical abortions could increase even more.