abortion split

Chart of the Day: A Review of the Abortion Debate by the Charts

The abortion landscape has changed in America since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. A leaked draft of a Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision suggests a majority of justices support throwing out that ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide.

Aside from the issue of SCOTUS leaks and the opinions you may have on abortion, it may be useful to review the abortion statistics to be better informed in the discussion. We have put together a set of charts and data links to aid in this discussion.

Note: Some of the data here is a few years old. However, the trends have been well established and have not changed considerably from what has been presented on the basic issue of abortion being legal, except on the issue of Late – Term abortions and some need for added restrictions.

American abortion opinions

What are the opinions of Americans concerning abortion? We present here two from Gallup and Pew, but here are a couple more – here and here. See the following opinion polls from Gallup and learn more here. It suggests that the abortion issue is largely divided down the middle.

ProLife vs ProChoice 2021

Here is another abortion poll from Pew, which suggests that the Pro-Choice side of the debate has the advantage – see this in the chart below and learn more here.

Pew Poll Abortion 2021

The polling has shifted dramatically when asked about Late – Term abortions, and certain restrictions, parental and father notifications, as well as delaying the procedure over a 24 hour timeframe:

Axios: 2019

By the numbers: The poll found Americans are now as likely to identify as pro-life (47%) as they are pro-choice (47%). Last month, a similar Marist survey found that Americans were more likely to identify as pro-choice than pro-life 55% to 38%, a 17-point gap.

  • The survey also found that 80% of Americans support abortion being limited to the first three months of pregnancy, an increase of 5 percentage points since last month’s Marist poll.

Between the lines: Marist has been polling Americans’ attitudes on abortion for over a decade, and Carvalho told Axios this is the first time since 2009 that as many or more Americans have identified as pro-life as have identified as pro-choice.

  • But what Carvalho said she found most significant was that Democrats, specifically those under the the age of 45, seem to be leading the shift: This month’s poll found 34% of Democrats identify as pro-life vs. 61% pro-choice. Last month, those numbers were 20% and 75%, respectively.
  • Among Americans under 45, 47% identify as pro-life vs. 48% pro-choice. In January, those numbers were 28% and 65%, respectively.

Read here and here for more recent shifts in attitude about abortion noted in polling.

American abortions statistics

The Guttmacher Institute compiles data on the number of abortions performed worldwide and estimates there were an average of about 890,000 abortions per year within the 15 to 44 age group in the United States from 2015 to 2019. This is an abortion rate of 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years and 18.4 abortions per 100 pregnancies ending in abortion or live birth. See this in the chart below and learn more here.

Abortion Rate Historical 2017

In terms of raw numbers of abortions (including by race) in the US, see the chart below and learn more here.

Abortions Raw Numbers 2017

abortion-class_demographicsIt is interesting to note that abortions rose significantly in the 1970-80s to a high of nearly 1.6 million abortions per year. From this high, the number of abortions has dramatically declined.

The inset infographic details the proportion of abortion patients in the United States by demographic characteristics as of 2014, including race and ethnicity, income level and poverty status, religion and religious affiliation, age, and whether patients already have children. The data come from a nationally representative survey of nonhospital abortion patients in the United States.

Additionally, see here a CDC report on abortion rates and below a chart Guttmacher Institute on abortion rates by race.

Abortion Rates by Race

It should be noted that Planned Parenthood puts 86% of its abortion facilities in minority neighborhoods. African-American women make up six percent of the U.S. population but represent 38% of all abortions in the country.

In Mississippi the state which triggered this present SCOTUS case look here for racial disparity of abortions.

Common abortion reasons

In a study asking about the reasons behind abortion, some people listed multiple reasons. This survey used open-ended questions, not a checklist of researcher-generated reasons. See the summary results below and learn more here.

Not financially prepared 40%
Bad timing, not ready, or unplanned 36%
Partner-related reasons New or bad relationship
Would be a single parent
Partner isn’t supportive
Partner doesn’t want the baby
Partner is abusive
Partner is the “wrong guy.”
Need to focus on other children 29%
Interferes with educational or job plans 20%
Not emotionally or mentally prepared 19%
Health-related reasons 12% Concern for their own health
Concern for the fetus’ health
Use of medications, other drugs, alcohol, or tobacco
Want a better life for a baby than they could provide 12%
Not independent or mature enough 7%
Influence from family or friends 5%
Doesn’t want a baby or to place the baby up for adoption 4%

While a small proportion of women who have abortions do so because of health concerns or fetal anomalies, the large majority choose termination in response to an unintended pregnancy. Of note, the health of the mother is around 10%. For rape and incest, it is less than 1%. See this in a detailed table below and learn more here

Abortion Reasons


The CDC data prove some babies are being born alive during abortions “botched abortions” and being allowed to die, see here.

Fact Sheet : Late -Term abortion stats:

Regarding the harvesting of fetal body parts by Planned Parenthood for sale- they have admitted under oath this is a practice, see here.

Key takeaways for discussion

  • Opinions on abortion have largely remained unchanged. But opinions on restrictions have changed dramatically. The Pro-Choice opinion may have a slight advantage, though it may depend on how the polling is done. America remains largely divided on the issue of abortion.
  • There are about 890,000 abortions done annually in the US. The trend of women having abortions has been declining more recently. The abortion rate is 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years and 18.4 abortions per 100 pregnancies ending in abortion or live birth.
  • The CDC did report in 2021 an increase in abortions in 2018, and 2019. see here.
  • If a woman is black and/or poor, the abortion rates will be significantly higher – nearly three times higher.
  • The primary reason for abortions is unwanted pregnancies. About 10% are due to the mother’s health, and less than 1% are due to rape or incest.
  • It must be noted that the statistical gathering is dependent on the abortion industry itself.
  • The  CDC’s surveillance system: the CDC compiles the information these reporting areas collect to produce national estimates. States have no federal requirement to gather or report stats on abortions to CDC. Planned Parenthood is the primary reporting entity in the surveillance system. Additionally, the CDC relies on voluntary reporting. This means the stats are provided by the abortionist industry with no oversight or verification.
  • The Guttmacher Institute is contracted by Planned Parenthood to compile data for the organization, conflict of interest?
  • One cannot find any governmental uniformed stats on Abortion complications and risks because they do not collect them. Why?
  • Here is a Human Rights organizations stated stats on complications and risks.

May 4, 2022 Polling Shift:

A new poll shows that more than half of American voters say abortion should be illegal, at least in some contexts, and would support legislation that protects the unborn from six or 15 weeks of gestation.

A new national Fox News poll completed the day before the leak of a Supreme Court document indicating that Roe v. Wade would be overturned shows that people favor an anti-abortion position on a 54% to 44% margin.

Amid renewed debate on whether the legality of abortion should be managed at the federal or state level, the poll shows that the public’s concern about abortion policy has grown from 62% in September to 69% currently. Of those who expressed extreme concern, 60% say Roe v. Wade should be upheld.

“Americans’ opinions on abortion are more nuanced than is often assumed,” Republican pollster Daron Shaw said. “Sixty percent think abortion should be legal, but with restrictions. The question is where to draw the line.”

How this data stacks up politically and the policies to be taken are another matter. With the revisiting of Roe v. Wade by SCOTUS, this is bound to be a top-line issue going into the midterms in 2022.”

See more Chart of the Day posts.

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 RWR original article syndication source.

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  1. Make every woman who has an abortion where the child survives kill it herself. Let’s see how far that goes.

  2. Good work. The stand out stat is the almost 20% OF ALL pregnancies being aborted. (Abortion rate per female population less relevant),
    My view is the same as the poll. Accidental pregnancies in first trimester – ok. After that? There should be attempt at preserving the baby outside the womb, rather than abortion – if technically possible.

  3. SCOTUS is simply saying the federal govt does not have the power under the Constitution to decide legality or illegality of abortions. This has nothing to do with whether abortion should be legal or illegal.

    Which means that all the arguments being given by both sides about why abortion should be legal or illegal are irrelevant to the question before the Court. The question is jurisdiction, and the Court says the states have jurisdiction, not the federal government.

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Written by Tom Williams

Born down on the farm in America's Midwest, my early life was spent climbing the ladder via a long career in information technology. Starting as a technician, and after earning a degree going to night school, I eventually found a place working at ATT Bell Laboratories as a software engineer.

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