WASHINGTON, D.C., November 21, 2012, ( – The U.S. abortion rate dipped five percent in 2009, according to a new report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). There were 784,507 recorded abortions in 43 states that year.


However, that number excludes early abortions that may have been caused by the increase in “emergency contraception” and abortifacient birth control methods such as IUDs. The report singles out IUD and hormonal contraception use as part of the reason for the lower rate of abortions performed in facilities, and specifically promotes the increased use of the IUD.

The Associated Press said the report shows “the biggest one-year decrease [in abortion] in at least a decade.” 

The numbers defy expectations, given the country’s immersion in Great Recession. Abortion and economic conditions are intimately linked, leading experts to anticipate rates would rise.

The report reveals that 12 women’s deaths are directly attributable to abortion in 2009.

Of women who chose an abortion that year, nearly half, 44.7 percent, had at least one previous abortion; 8.1 percent had undergone three or more abortions.

Teenagers accounted for approximately 16 percent of all abortions. Women aged 20-24 were most likely to procure an abortion.

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Unmarried women accounted for 85 percent of all abortions that year, and more than 90 percent of abortions took place in the first trimester.


A profile of women’s economic or social standing is impossible, as the report notes the “CDC does not collect abortion data by education or income.”

White women accounted for the largest number and percentage of abortions (37.7 percent), followed by black women (35.4 percent), Hispanics (20.6 percent), and those of other ethnic backgrounds (6.3 percent). However, white women had the lowest abortion rates relative to population, while the black abortion rate was nearly four times as high.

Duke University economics professor Elizabeth Ananat believes one “factor [in the declining overall rate] may be the growing use of the morning-after pill, a form of emergency contraception that has been increasingly easier to get,” according to Reuters news service.

“Experts also pointed to the growing use of IUDs, or intrauterine devices,” Reuters reported.

The CDC report does not include data from the nation’s largest state, California, which also has the largest number of abortion providers. Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming also failed to report abortion rates in their respective states.

To obtain reliable statistics, the CDC relies on data from 43 states and two cities that have consistently met all reporting criteria.

You may read the full report here.