New York State Ranks No. 1 in Abortion Rate; But Abortions Down 24% in U.S. in Last 10 Years on Record

By Terence P. Jeffrey | December 2, 2019 | 4:30pm EST
Andrew Cuomo (Getty Images/Chris Hondros)
Andrew Cuomo (Getty Images/Chris Hondros)

( - Of the 47 states that reported their annual abortion numbers to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York had the highest rate, ratio and overall number of abortions, according to a newly released CDC report.

But, over the last ten years on record (2007 through 2016), the total number of abortions in the 47 states that have consistently reported their abortions to the CDC has declined by 24 percent.

The abortion numbers come from the CDC’s “Abortion Surveillance—United States, 2016,” which was published by the CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report” on Nov. 29.

The “rate” of abortions (as defined by the CDC) is the number of abortions per 1,000 women 15 to 44 years of age in the relevant jurisdiction; the “ratio” is the number of abortions per 1,000 live births.

In 2016, the year covered by this new CDC report, there were a total of 623,471 abortions in the 47 states that reported their abortion numbers. (California, Maryland and New Hampshire did not. Nor did the District of Columbia.)

The abortion rate in those 47 states was 11.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.

The abortion ratio in those 47 states was 186 abortions per 1,000 live births.

In New York, the rate was 21.8 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years, and the ratio was 373 per 1,000 live births.

The total number of abortions in New York was 87,325.

The CDC each year asks 52 “reporting areas” to provide data on the abortions that take place there. These reporting areas include all 50 states, the District of Columbia and New York City (as a subset of New York State).


Because California, Maryland, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia do not provide their abortion data to the CDC, the report does not include the total number of abortions done in the United States in 2016.

Wyoming, which had fewer than 20 abortions in 2016, was not included in the CDC’s calculations of abortions rates and ratios.

According to the Census Bureau, California--which does not participate in the CDC survey--was the nation’s most populous state in 2016 (with 39,209,127 people). Texas (27,937,492) was the second most populous. Florida (20,629,982) was third. New York (19,641589) was fourth. Illinois was fifth (12,826,895).

When measured by the state abortion rate, Florida ranked No. 2 after New York with a rate of 18.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. Georgia ranked No. 3 with an abortion rate of 15.9.  Illinois ranked No. 4 with an abortion rate of 15.1. Connecticut ranked No. 5 with an abortion rate of 14.9.

When measured by the ratio of abortions to live births, Florida again ranked No. 2 after New York with a ratio 310 abortions per 1,000 live births. Connecticut ranked No. 3 with 279 abortions per 1,000 live births. Georgia ranked No. 4 with 260. Massachusetts ranked No. 5 with 251.

When measured by the total number of abortions in 2016, Florida again ranked No. 2 after New York with 69,770 abortions. Texas ranked No. 3 with 53,481 abortions. Illinois ranked No. 4 with 38,382 abortions. Georgia ranked No. 5 with 33,811 abortions.


The CDC has gathered data from the same 47 states (and New York City) for each of the ten years from 2007 through 2016. During that time period, the number, rate and ratio of abortions all hit their lowest levels in 2016.

“From 2007 to 2016, the total number of reported abortions decreased 24 percent (from 825,240 [to 623,471]), the abortion rate decreased 26 percent (from 15.6 abortion per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years [to 11.6]), and the abortion ratio decreased 18 percent (from 226 abortions per 1,000 live births [to 186]),” said the report.

In New York City alone, according to the CDC report, there were 1,328 abortions in 2016 in which the unborn baby was at least 21 weeks gestational age.

That means that in New York City that year there were approximately 26 babies per week who were aborted at 21 weeks gestational age or later.

On Jan. 22, 2019, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who first took office in 2011. signed the Reproductive Health Act. According to a fact sheet published by its sponsor, State Sen. Liz Krueger, this law “legalizes abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy if a woman’s health is at risk.”

The CDC report said that 5.6 percent of the abortions in New York State in 2016 were obtained by out-of-state residents.


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