Nearly 50 Million Abortions Have Been Performed in U.S. Since Roe v. Wade Decision Legalized Abortion

January 25, 2011 - 4:01 AM

procedure room, abortion, abortion clinic

In this undated photo provided by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, shows a procedure room at the Women's Medical Society in Philadelphia. Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who catered to minorities, immigrants and poor women at the Women's Medical Society, was charged Wednesday Jan. 19, 2011, with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors, prosecutors said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Philadelphia District Attorney)

(CNSNews.com) - Statistics compiled over the past decade show that the number of abortions in the United States has dropped precipitously since the early 1980s, but the procedure still remains a prevalent form of birth control in this country and around the world.

According to the U.S .Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, there were 846,181 abortions in the U.S. in 2006, the latest year for which government records are available.

The pro-abortion rights Alan Guttmacher Institute reports that there have been nearly 50 million abortions performed since 1973, the year the Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade decision ushering in legal abortion nationwide.

In 2008, Guttmacher says, there were 1.2 million "legally terminated pregnancies" in the United States, based on reports complied from state and local health agencies -- down from 1.3 million the year previous.

According to Guttmacher, 35 percent of all U.S. women will have had an abortion by age 45.

Guttmacher also reports that 93 percent of all abortions occur for “social reasons” such as a mother’s decision that the child is unwanted or “inconvenient.”

Both Guttmacher and CDC say that black women are more than four times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are 2.7 times as likely.

BlackGenocide.com, a pro-life campaign to stop abortion in the African American community, estimates that 13 million abortions have been performed on African American women since 1973. They also estimate that, on average, 1,876 black pregnancies are terminated in the U.S. each day.

Surprisingly, Guttmacher estimates that Catholic women account for more than 31 percent of all abortions performed in the United States while 18 percent of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as born-again Christians or evangelicals. Both religious groups preach against terminating pregnancies.

Guttmacher says that there are 1,793 abortion “providers” in the United States and that the average amount paid for an abortion is $413.

-- Over 60 percent of abortions are among women who have had one or more children, and 90 percent of abortions occur within the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy.

-- About 20 percent of women having an abortion report using Medicaid to pay for abortions despite laws that prohibit taxpayer dollars from going to fund abortions.

-- One significant change that has occurred over the last decade comes as a result of the development of the drug RU-486 or the “abortion pill.”

-- Guttmacher estimates that use of the pill has risen significantly since 2005 and now accounts for 17 percent of all abortion procedures.

Worldwide, Guttmacher estimates that 42 million abortions are performed each year with nearly half of those being performed by “unskilled” professionals or in nations where abortion is restricted or prohibited.

According to the United Nations, the country with the highest number of abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, in 2007, was Russia: 53.7 abortions per 1,000 women. The corresponding number for the United States that year, according to the U.N., was 20.8 abortions per 1,000 women.

For another comparison,  Guttmacher reports that, "In 2008, 153,110 women obtained abortions in New York, producing a rate of 37.6 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age."

Rallies were held in Washington, D.C., on Monday to mark the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which guaranteed the right to an abortion.

President Obama marked the anniversary by releasing a statement in which he reiterated his support for abortion rights.

“Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women's health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters,” said Obama. “I am committed to protecting this constitutional right.”

Despite the continued legality of the procedure in the United States, pro-life groups have been bolstered in their cause thanks to the Republican takeover of the U.S. House and by recent polls showing support for legal abortion slipping.