By the Numbers: Abortion in America

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Americans hold a variety of opinions about abortion, but we should all rely on the same facts. Here are some numbers that can offer a snapshot of abortion in the United States. Unless otherwise indicated, these statistics are from the Guttmacher Institute, whose research is cited by both advocates and opponents of legal abortion.


The number of new abortion restrictions passed by states since January 2011, when a Republican “wave” election swept through state houses across the country, through the first half of 2014.

In the 10 previous years, states passed a total of 189 laws restricting abortions.


The number of states with “TRAP” laws — Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers — that require abortion providers to conform to burdensome regulations that aren’t required of other providers of outpatient care.

  • 13 states specify the size of procedure rooms.
  • 13 states specify corridor width.
  • 11 states require abortion facilities to be within a set distance from a hospital.
  • 15 states place unnecessary requirements on clinicians that perform abortions.
  • 15 states require abortion providers to have some affiliation with a local hospital.
  • 5 states require that providers have admitting privileges.


The number of states that had only one abortion provider as of the end of 2013: Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. (via Center for Reproductive Rights).

Abortion providers chart

The number of US abortion providers declined steadily between 1982 and 2000, but appears to have stabilized in recent years. (Chart: The Guttmacher Institute)


The number of women of reproductive age in the center of the country — from northern Texas through Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota — who live at least 150 miles from the nearest abortion provider, according to a 2013 analysis by The Daily Beast.

Close up screen grab of the Daily Beast abortion access map.

"The Geography of Abortion Access," an interactive showing abortion clinics and America's female population, created by The Daily Beast.

51 percent

Of all pregnancies in America in 2008 were unintended, according to a study published this year in the American Journal of Public Health.

40 percent

Of those pregnancies ended in an abortion.

1 in 3

Women will get an abortion in her lifetime, according to a 2011 study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. 

51 percent

Of women who get an abortion had used contraceptives in the month that they got pregnant.

18 percent

Of women who have abortions are teenagers.

61 percent

Of women who get an abortion have already given birth to at least one child.

9 in 10

Abortions occur during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. At 12 weeks of development, the average fetus is just over two inches in length and weighs just under a half-ounce.


Since 1973, nearly 90 percent of abortions have taken place in the first three months of pregnancy. (Chart: The Guttmacher Institute)

84 percent

Of abortion providers have experienced a form of harassment or violence.

66 percent

Of abortion clinics don’t offer the procedure after 20 weeks of gestation.


The average cost of a surgical abortion at 10 weeks in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available.

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