GUEST POST: How many abortions occur in the United States each year? The answer is we don’t know. The Pew Research Center recently updated a report on abortion data in the United States and admitted as much. After half a century of widely legal elective abortion, we are no closer to accurate reporting of the number of babies killed in abortion or mothers maimed or killed from abortion complications. In the era of death by mail “DIY abortions,” Pew’s report also points to why the number of abortions will become more difficult to understand not less.
In its report, Pew describes the two main sources of abortion data in the United States: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute.
Since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in all 50 states in 1973, the CDC has compiled data from central health agencies for most states, New York City, and Washington, D.C., to approximate the national number of abortions. This number is far from precise because the reporting requirements for abortionists are different in each state.
In recent years, California, Maryland, and New Hampshire no longer submit data to the CDC, so the national total excludes the most populous state and one of the nation’s hubs for late-term abortion.
Think about that, as Governor Gavin Newsom works to make California an abortion destination vacation spot, the number of deaths by abortion will disappear into a black hole of no data. If abortion is as great as he claims, why not insist his state report how many abortions take place as well as what happens to the women who get them.
The other source of widely accepted national abortion data is the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research organization formerly a “special affiliate” of America’s largest abortion business Planned Parenthood. If that’s not a conflict of interest, it’s hard to know what is.
While the CDC uses reporting data from government sources, the Guttmacher Institute contacts every known abortion business in the United States, as well as every hospital or medical practice that also commits abortions. While more accurate than the CDC data—in part because it includes all 50 states—the Guttmacher data are still incomplete. Pew Research states, “It [Guttmacher] uses questionnaires and health department data, and provides estimates for abortion providers that don’t respond to its inquiries.”
Once again, it’s clear that the only available data about abortion in the United States relies on the self-reporting of the abortion industry itself.
So, how many abortions are there each year in the United States? Pew Research admits, “An exact answer is hard to come by.” The most recent year for which data are available is 2020. According to Pew, “The CDC says there were 620,327 abortions nationally in 2020 in the District of Columbia and 47 states, a 1.5% decrease from 629,898 in 2019. Guttmacher’s national total for 2020 was 930,160, a 1.5% increase from 916,460 in 2019.”
Beyond the glaring discrepancy of one source showing an increase and the other a decrease in the total number of abortions, there is another oversight especially evident in 2020. As Pew indicates, both sources only include legal abortions committed under the oversight of an abortionist. The abortion industry is increasingly pushing for “DIY,” “at-home,” and “self-managed” abortions.
During the shutdowns of 2020, abortion groups used the federal government to radically expand telemedicine abortions in which Chemical Abortion Pills are administered without supervision. There is no doubt that this expansion of Chemical Abortion Pills feeds into an industry of illegal abortions, increasingly pushed in states with strong pro-life protections. The Pew reports states “these figures do not include abortions that use pills that were obtained outside of clinical settings.” Those would include the rapidly expanding mail-order Chemical Abortion Pill industry. Even media with a strong pro-abortion bias have admitted that accounting for these abortions and the resulting complications is important and will not be possible under current reporting practices.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, pro-lifers had the ability to protect preborn life and outlaw all or most abortions at the state level. Abortion activists have entered a relentless campaign to expand dangerous mail-order abortions using Chemical Abortion Pills, the new “back-alley abortion.” As the Pew report shows, we did not know how many abortions and abortion complications occurred annually before. Now, there are even more unknowns.
Abortion activists like to say that abortion is “safe.” There is no other procedure in which at least one person dies that would be called “safe.” By definition, a successful abortion results in the death of at least one preborn baby; in the case of twins, two. There are also documented instances of mothers losing their lives from abortion complications.
Researchers across the political spectrum admit: There is a lot we do not know about abortions in the United States. It’s time for that to change.
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