Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Abortion Stats

The supreme court battle over Alito appears to be all about abortion. Any yet, the media does not appear to want to delve into this issue so that you can have an informed opinion. On TV you usually just get a nut job from the right debating a nut job from the left each throwing out their over simplified talking points of the day. Maybe this is because the issue hasn't really changed much in the last 30 years, so maybe they figure that people already know this stuff. Whatever the case, I found that I really didn't have a feel for how prevalent abortion is in the US, who has them and under what circumstances. And unlike so many of the issues in the culture war, this is a real issue that has major impacts on most American lives (as opposed to teaching of Intelligent Design, displaying the 10 Commandments, gay marriage, or whether Under God is in the Pledge of Allegiance).

So I was happy to find this blog post on this report (.pdf) to answer some of these questions. I would recommend reading the post or report (they are about the same and neither is that long), and I will just highlight a couple of points.

In a typical year in the US there are about 4.1 million live births, 1.3 million abortions, and 900,000 miscarriages. 21% of all pregnancies end in abortion, 14% in miscarriage, and 65% in birth. Put another way, more than 1 in 5 pregnancies end in abortion and when miscarriages are factored out, nearly 1 in 4 end in abortion.

1 in 3 American women will have an abortion by the time they reach 45.

For every 100 pregnancies in America, 52 were planned and 48 were unplanned. Among the 48% of pregnancies that were unintended, the percentage of abortions to live births is 54% to 46%.

Of the 46 million abortions that are performed in the world each year, 20 million (44%) occur in countries where the procedure is illegal and only 3% occur in the US.
And to take their numbers and analyze them further (and assuming I am doing my math right):

The average American woman has 1.8 children and .45 (1.8/4) abortions.

By the age of 45, 66% of women have had no abortions, 17% had 1, 9% had 2, 4% had 3, and 3% had 4+.

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