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, 52 (12), 1-32

Abortion surveillance--United States, 2000

  • PMID: 14647014

Abortion surveillance--United States, 2000

Laurie D Elam-Evans et al. MMWR Surveill Summ.


Problem/condition: CDC began abortion surveillance in 1969 to document the number and characteristics of women obtaining legal induced abortions.

Reporting period covered: This report summarizes and describes data reported to CDC regarding legal induced abortions obtained in the United States in 2000.

Description of system: For each year since 1969, CDC has compiled abortion data by state or area of occurrence. During 1973-1997, data were received from or estimated for 52 reporting areas in the United States: 50 states, the District of Columbia, and New York City. In 1998 and 1999, CDC compiled abortion data from 48 reporting areas. Alaska, California, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma did not report, and data for these areas were not estimated. In 2000, Oklahoma again reported these data, increasing the number of reporting areas to 49.

Results: A total of 857,475 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC for 2000 from 49 reporting areas, representing a 0.5% decrease from the 861,789 legal induced abortions reported by 48 reporting areas for 1999 and a 1.3% decrease for the same 48 reporting areas that reported in 1999. The abortion ratio, defined as the number of abortions per 1,000 live births, was 246 in 2000 (for the same 48 reporting areas as 1999), compared with 256 reported for 1999. This represents a 3.8% decline in the abortion ratio. The abortion rate (for the same 48 reporting areas as 1999) was 16 per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years for 2000. This was also a 3.8% decrease from the rate reported for procedures performed during 1997-1999 for the same 48 reporting areas. The highest percentages of reported abortions were for women aged <25 years (52%), women who were white (57%), and unmarried women (81%). Fifty-eight percent of all abortions for which gestational age was reported were performed at < or =8 weeks of gestation, and 88% were performed before 13 weeks. From 1992 (when detailed data regarding early abortions were first collected) through 2000, steady increases have occurred in the percentage of abortions performed at < or =6 weeks of gestation. Few abortions were performed after 15 weeks of gestation; 4.3% were obtained at 16-20 weeks and 1.4% were obtained at > or =21 weeks. A total of 31 reporting areas submitted data stating that they performed medical (nonsurgical) procedures, making up 1.0% of all reported procedures from the 42 areas with adequate reporting on type of procedure. In 1998 and 1999 (the most recent years for which data are available), 14 women died as a result of complications from known legal induced abortion. Ten of these deaths occurred in 1998 and four occurred in 1999; no deaths were associated with known illegal abortion.

Interpretation: From 1990 through 1997, the number of legal induced abortions gradually declined. In 1998 and 1999, the number of abortions continued to decrease when comparing the same 48 reporting areas. In 2000, even with one additional reporting state, the number of abortions declined slightly. In 1998 and 1999, as in previous years, deaths related to legal induced abortions occurred rarely (<1 death per 100,000 abortions).

Public health action: Abortion surveillance in the United States continues to provide data necessary for examining trends in numbers and characteristics of women who obtain legal induced abortions and for increasing understanding of one additional aspect of the spectrum of pregnancy outcomes. Policy makers and program planners need these data to improve the health and well-being of women and infants.

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