In 1996, a total of 1,221,585 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC, representing a slight increase of 0.9% from the number reported for 1995 (6) (Table 1). From 1970 through 1982, the reported number of legal abortions in the United States increased every year (Table 2; Figure 1); the largest percentage increase occurred from 1970 to 1971. From 1976 through 1982, the annual increase declined and reached a low of 0.2% during 1980-1981 and during 1981-1982. From 1983 through 1990, the number of abortions increased again, although moderately (less than or equal to 5% from year to year). However, despite the slight increase in the number of abortions in 1996 compared with 1995, during 1990-1995, the annual number of abortions decreased each year.
The national legal induced abortion ratio (number of legal abortions per 1,000 live births) increased from 1970 through 1980, peaked at 364 per 1,000 live births in 1984, and began to decline steadily in 1987, from 356 per 1,000 to 311 per 1,000 in 1995 (Figure 1; Table 2). From 1995 to 1996, the national abortion ratio increased slightly, from 311 to 314. The national legal induced abortion rate increased from five abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years in 1970 to 25 per 1,000 in 1980. From 1981 through 1992, the rate remained stable at 23-24 abortions per 1,000 women, then declined to 22 in 1993, to 21 in 1994, and to 20 in 1995. In 1996, the abortion rate remained stable at 20 abortions per 1,000 women.
In 1996, as in previous years, most legal induced abortions were performed in California, New York City, Texas, and Florida; the fewest were performed in Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, and North Dakota (Table 3) (6). For women whose state of residence was known, approximately 92% had obtained the abortion within the state in which they resided. The percentage of abortions obtained by out-of-state residents ranged from approximately 50% in the District of Columbia to less than 0.5% in Hawaii. For 1996, eight reporting areas could not provide data concerning abortions obtained by out-of-state residents.
Women aged 20-24 years obtained approximately one third (32%) of all abortions; women aged less than 15 years obtained less than 1% of all abortions (Table 4). Abortion ratios were highest for the youngest women (i.e., 723 abortions per 1,000 live births for women aged less than 15 years and 415 per 1,000 for women aged 15-19 years) and for the oldest women (376 per 1,000 live births for women aged 40-44 years). The ratio was lowest for women aged 30-34 years (165 per 1,000 live births) (Figure 2; Table 4). Among adolescents, the abortion ratio was highest for those aged less than 15 years and lowest for those aged 19 years (Table 5).
In contrast to abortion ratios, abortion rates were highest for women aged 20-24 years (38 abortions per 1,000 women) and lowest for women at the extremes of reproductive-age (i.e., two abortions per 1,000 women aged less than 15 years [i.e., 13-14 years] and two per 1,000 women aged 40-44 years) (Table 4).
For women in most age groups, the abortion ratio increased from 1974 through the early 1980s and declined thereafter, particularly for the youngest and oldest reproductive-aged women (Figure 3). Abortion ratios for women aged less than 15 years have been and remain higher than those for the other age groups. Although abortion ratios increased slightly for women aged less than 15 and 15-19 years from 1995 to 1996, these ratios remained among the lowest ever recorded for these age groups. The abortion ratio for women aged 20-34 years (i.e., the group with the highest fertility rate) (7) has remained stable since the mid-1980s.
In 1996, approximately 54% of reported legal induced abortions were obtained at less than or equal to 8 weeks of gestation, and approximately 87% at less than 13 weeks (Table 6). Approximately 16% of abortions were performed during the earliest weeks of gestation (less than or equal to 6 weeks), approximately 17% at 7 weeks, and approximately 21% at 8 weeks (Table 7). Few abortions were provided after 15 weeks of gestation -- approximately 4% of abortions were obtained at 16-20 weeks, and 1.5% were obtained at greater than or equal to 21 weeks (Figure 4; Table 6). http://www.cdc.gov/m...ml/ss4804a1.htm