A fifth of all pregnancies were terminated in 2020, newly released figures show, with 930,160 terminations occurring over the course of that year.
Newly released statistics from the progressive reproductive health think tank, the Guttmacher Institute, show that the number of abortions increased by eight percent between 2017 and 2020.
Guttmacher’s research shows that there were 862,320 layoffs in the US in 2017 and another 916,460 in 2019.
Those numbers reversed a 30-year downward trend in exit rates, with the increase between 2017 and 2020 being attributed to a six percent drop in birth rates over the same period.
An exact breakdown of how advanced each of the terminated pregnancies was has not been released.
However, Guttmacher researchers have found that 54 percent of all abortions in 2020 are due to the so-called “abortion pill”.
It stipulates that women take two doses of a drug that induces miscarriage in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
This chart from the Guttmacher Institute shows how a 30-year decline in the number of abortions performed has been reversed in the past three years
This map shows which states have already enacted full or partial bans, which are about to be enacted, and which remain unimposed on terminations
The South — including many of the GOP-led states now enacting full or partial bans — saw the highest number of layoffs.
They recorded 295,310 abortions in 2017, 308,290 in 2019 and 320,410 in 2020.
Texas saw 55,440 abortions in 2018, 59,290 in 2019 and 58,030 in 2020. Its so-called Heartbeat law, which effectively bans abortions after six weeks, is said to be pioneering tough new pro-life measures being enacted across the United States .
The Lone Star State’s 2 percent decline between 2019 and 2020 may have been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with New York also seeing a 6 percent decline over the same period.
One in 10 abortion providers in Empire State closed early in the pandemic, and Guttmacher’s next installment of research will further highlight how COVID closures may have impacted abortion rates in 2021.
The Northeastern states recorded a total of 228,100 abortions in 2020, the West recorded 235,140 abortions, with 146,550 occurring in the Midwest in the same year.
Pro-life and pro-choice protesters are pictured outside the Supreme Court in Washington DC June 13 after a leaked draft opinion hinted at the Conservative-majority court’s plans to end Roe v Wade, which gives American women the right to abortion guaranteed
Republican-appointed Justices Clarence Thomas (second from bottom left), Neil Gorsuch (second from top right), Brett Kavanaugh (top left) and Amy Coney Barrett (top right) all voted to place Roe with Samuel Alito (bottom left) to knock down.
Guttmacher said there were “no clear patterns” to explain why certain states experienced an increase in layoffs while others saw a decrease.
Some, including Illinois, began reporting abortions on Medicaid. There, terminations increased from 42,080 in 2017 to 52,220 in 2019 and 52,780 in 2020.
The statistics were released almost two months after a leaked draft Supreme Court ruling hinted at plans to repeal the 1973 Roe v Wade Act.
It guarantees American women the right to an abortion, with several states now poised to impose an outright ban on abortion as the conservative Majority Court prepares to release its final advisory opinion.
The number of abortions performed in 1973—the first year the procedure became legal—totaled about 750,000.
That number rose to over a million by the late 1970s and stayed there through the 1980s, reaching an all-time high in 1990 with more than 1.5 million abortions.
The number fell below one million for the first time in 2011 and now threatens to fall further as tough new laws come into force in all conservative states.
The beginning of the original leaked draft opinion written by Judge Samuel Alito
The decline in the number of abortions performed has been attributed to contraception becoming both easier to obtain and more effective in preventing pregnancy.
Abortion has become an increasingly tense political issue in recent election cycles.
Former President Donald Trump went from being a passionate supporter of the election to pro-life after taking office in 2016.
His appointment of three conservative Supreme Court justices is widely credited with the leaked draft opinion now set to end Roe v Wade.
Several other GOP governors have issued their own bans aimed at eliminating layoffs and tout this as a priority in their election material.
Governors in blue states that have no plans to limit abortion laws have offered to transport pregnant women there for abortions.
Advances in medical technology since Roe’s publication have further complicated the problem. Roe allows women to have abortions up to the point where a fetus can survive outside the womb.
This is currently defined between the 23rd and 28th week of pregnancy.
But last year, an Alabama baby born at just 21 weeks survived thanks to modern medicine that wouldn’t have been available in 1973, prompting further debate about abortion deadlines.
Florida has enacted an abortion ban after 15 weeks, which its Gov. Ron DeSantis claims is a reasonable compromise on the matter.