Kaiser Health News

Three-year abortion trends vary widely by state

A recent Guttmacher Institute survey documented an 8% increase in the number of abortions performed in the United States from 2017 to 2020, reversing what had been a nearly three-decade decline in women choosing to terminate their pregnancies.

But a closer look at the results, drawn from an in-depth survey of all known facilities offering abortions in the United States, reveals wide variation in abortion trends between states. While 33 states reported an increase in the number of abortions, 17 states reported a decline. And the swings up or down are striking.

Among the states that saw the biggest increases: Oklahoma (+103%); Mississippi (+40%); Idaho (+31%); Kentucky (+28%); and New Mexico (+27%). Among the states with the largest declines: Missouri (-96%); South Dakota (-74%); West Virginia (-31%); Wyoming (-29%); and Louisiana (-26%).

Notably, states like California and New York, which have pushed to expand abortion funding and services in recent years, have seen less dramatic gains of 16% and 5%, respectively.

Guttmacher, a research organization that supports abortion rights, noted that some of the fluctuations at the state level were intertwined, as women in states that have enacted laws restricting access to abortion have traveled to neighboring states for treatment. This is believed to be a driving factor behind the 103% rise in Oklahoma, where women in Texas – a state with some of the strictest abortion laws in the country – sought care before Oklahoma did not. passed its own ban on almost all abortions in May.

The report’s authors also cited other factors, including state-level variations in access to government funding for abortion care for low-income women, and regulations issued by the Trump administration. that have disrupted the nation’s vital Title X network of family planning clinics. inexpensive or free source of contraception. The Biden administration has since replaced those regulations.

Stark disparities in state abortion trends are expected to widen in the coming year, following the June 24 Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe vs. Wadeeliminating the long-standing federally guaranteed right to abortion and leaving the matter in the hands of state legislators.

Phillip Reese is a data communications specialist and assistant professor of journalism at California State University-Sacramento.

This story was produced by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an independent editorial service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy research organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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