Context: Following a long-term decline, abortion incidence stabilized between 2005 and 2008. Given the proliferation of state-level abortion restrictions, it is critical to assess abortion incidence and access to services since that time.
Methods: In 2012-2013, all facilities known or expected to have provided abortion services in 2010 and 2011 were surveyed. Data on the number of abortions were combined with population data to estimate national and state-level abortion rates. Incidence of abortions was assessed by provider type and caseload. Information on state abortion regulations implemented between 2008 and 2011 was collected, and possible relationships with abortion rates and provider numbers were considered.
Results: In 2011, an estimated 1.1 million abortions were performed in the United States; the abortion rate was 16.9 per 1,000 women aged 15-44, representing a drop of 13% since 2008. The number of abortion providers declined 4%; the number of clinics dropped 1%. In 2011, 89% of counties had no clinics, and 38% of women of reproductive age lived in those counties. Early medication abortions accounted for a greater proportion of nonhospital abortions in 2011 (23%) than in 2008 (17%). Of the 106 new abortion restrictions implemented during the study period, few or none appeared to be related to state-level patterns in abortion rates or number of providers.
Conclusions: The national abortion rate has resumed its decline, and no evidence was found that the overall drop in abortion incidence was related to the decrease in providers or to restrictions implemented between 2008 and 2011.
Copyright © 2014 by the Guttmacher Institute.