Who Gets Abortions?

The Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) has been tracking the number and characteristics of women obtaining legal abortions since 1969[1]. No state is required to report, and most states report if an abortion was medical or surgical. The 2019 report excludes California, Maryland, and New Hampshire, but includes the District of Columbia.


The CDC measures abortion by both abortion rate and abortion ratio. Abortion rate is the number of abortions per 1,000 women within a given population. Abortion ratio is the number of abortions per 1,000 live births within a given population.


The 2019 Abortion Surveillance reported a national abortion rate of 11.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44. Women in their twenties accounted for 56.9% of abortions. The abortion ratio was lowest among women aged 25-39 years. Girls less that 15 years accounted for less 0.4% of all abortions, but had the highest abortion ratio (878 per 1000 live births)[1].

Abortion by Age

The highest Abortion Ratio is in girls less than 15 years old, and the highest Abortion Rates are associated with women in their twenties.

Abortion by Gestation Week

Nearly all abortions (92.7%) were performed at less than 13 weeks’ gestation. Less than 1% of abortions occurred at greater than 21 weeks’ gestation, and 6.2% of abortions occurred between 14 and 20 weeks.

1.Katherine Kortsmit, PhD et.al., Abortion Surveillance – United States, 2019, 70(9); 1-29 (November 26, 2021). https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/ss/ss7009a1.htm