Almost a fifth of all pregnancies in the United States now end in abortion, according to a Friday report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A staggering 730,322 abortions took place in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the CDC’s ‘Abortion Surveillance‘ report. That’s down from 854,122 abortions in 2002 — 250 abortions for every 1,000 live births.
The vast majority of women who choose to abort are unmarried — 85.5 percent. The proportion of unmarried women who have an abortion has actually increased, while abortion has fallen overall — in 2001, 81.7 percent of women who had an abortion were unmarried. These women are much more likely to be young — 57.8 percent were in their 20s — although the abortion rate for women above 40 who go through with an abortion is showing a “small yet persistent increase.”
The race of the victims is disproportionately skewed as well. Non-Hispanic black women had the highest rate of abortion — for every 1,000 black women between the ages of 15 and 44 years, 29.7 had abortions in 2011. Non-Hispanic black women accounted for 36.2 percent of all abortions that year; non-Hispanic white women accounted for 37.2 percent.
That’s a serious skew — the 2013, the Census Bureau reported that in the U.S. at large, 62.6 percent of people in the country were non-Hispanic white alone, while 13.2 percent were black or African American alone.
The CDC said that abortion is almost always the result of unintended pregnancy and recommended more advertising for contraception.
“Providing women and men with the knowledge and resources necessary to make decisions about their sexual behavior and use of contraception can help them avoid unintended pregnancies,” the CDC concluded. “Research has shown that providing contraception for women at no cost increases use of the most effective methods and can reduce abortion rates. Removing cost and increasing access to the most effective contraceptive methods could be an important way to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and consequently the number of abortions performed in the United States.”
According to the CDC, the “most effective forms of reversible contraception” are intrauterine devices and hormonal implants.
Most employers are now required by Obamacare to support those and 20 FDA-approved contraceptives for their female employees at no cost, though companies with closely-held religious beliefs are not required to, as the Supreme Court ruled that the contraceptive mandate violates some employers’ religious freedom.
While the CDC noted that the abortion rate dropped from 33 percent to 18 percent in the decade before the contraceptive mandate, it’s sole recommendation to further lower the number of abortions only discussed no-cost birth control.