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Current Trends Abortion Surveillance: Preliminary Analysis -- United States, 1986 and 1987

In 1986 and 1987, 1,328,112 and 1,353,671 legal abortions, respectively, were reported to CDC from the 50 states and the District of Columbia (Table 1). From 1985 to 1986, the number of legal abortions decreased less than 1%; from 1986 to 1987, the number increased by 1.9%.

In 1986, the national abortion ratio was 354.2 legal abortions per 1000 live births (Table 1); in 1987, the ratio was 356.1. The national abortion rate (number of legal abortions per 1000 women 15-44 years of age) was 23 for 1986 and 24 for 1987. In both years, 92% of women who had legal abortions were residents of the state in which the procedure was performed (Table 1).

Women obtaining legal abortions in 1986 and 1987 were predominantly less than 25 years of age, white, and unmarried and had had no live births (Table 1). Curettage (suction and sharp) remained the primary method of abortion and accounted for 97% of all legal abortion procedures in 1986 and 1987, respectively. In both years, as in previous years, slightly more than half the legal abortions were performed in the first 8 weeks of gestation, and nearly 90%, in the first 12 weeks (Table 1). Reported by: Pregnancy Epidemiology Br and Research and Statistics Br, Div of Reproductive Health, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC.

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