Abortion Fast Facts

Here's a look at what you need to know about abortion laws and statistics in the U.S.

January 22, 1973 -
Roe v. Wade - The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, affirms the legality of a woman's right to have an abortion under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

The most common method of legal abortion (before thirteen weeks) is surgical vacuum aspiration.

"Partial birth abortion" is a controversial name for intact dilation and evacuation (or extraction). A ban on the procedure was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.

Abortion Statistics:
The following is the number of abortions reported to the CDC:
2010: 765,651

2009: 784,507

2008: 825,564

2007: 827,609

2006: 846,181

2005: 820,151

2000: 857,475

1995: 1,210,883

1990: 1,429,247

1985: 1,328,570

1980: 1,297,606

The number of abortions in the U.S. increased gradually from 1973, then peaked in 1990 and has been on the decline since then.

The abortion ratio increased from 196 per 1,000 live births in 1973 to 358 per 1,000 in 1979 and remained nearly stable through 1981.

The ratio peaked at 364 per 1,000 in 1984 and has steadily declined since then.

2010 Statistics:
2010 is the most recent year for which the CDC has released statistics. The reporting areas are the District of Columbia; New York City; and 47 states, excluding California, Maryland, and New Hampshire.

From 49 reporting areas, 765,651 legally induced abortions were reported to the CDC. This is a decrease of 3% compared to 2009. The abortion ratio remains stable changing less than 1%, 0.4%. There were 228 abortions for every 1000 live births for women aged 15-44.

91.9% of 2010 abortions were preformed at or less than the 13th week of gestation. Of those 71.7% were performed at or less than the eighth week. 17.7% of all 2010 abortions were medical abortions.