CDCs Abortion Surveillance System FAQs

Abortion Surveillance—Findings and Reports

Abortion Surveillance 2018

In 2018, 619,591 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. Among 48 reporting areas with data each year during 2009–2018, in 2018, a total of 614,820 abortions were reported, the abortion rate was 11.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 189 abortions per 1,000 live births.

From 2009 to 2018, the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 22%, 24%, and 16%, respectively. In 2017, the total number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased to historic lows for the period of analysis for all three measures. However, compared with 2017, in 2018, the total number and rate of reported abortions increased by 1%, and the abortion ratio increased by 2%.

Similar to previous years, in 2018, women in their twenties accounted for the majority of abortions (57.7%). The majority of abortions in 2018 took place early in gestation: 92.2% of abortions were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation; a smaller number of abortions (6.9%) were performed at 14–20 weeks’ gestation, and even fewer (1.0%) were performed at ≥21 weeks’ gestation. Early medical abortion is defined as the administration of medications(s) to induce an abortion at ≤9 completed weeks’ gestation, consistent with the current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling for mifepristone (implemented in 2016). In 2018, 38.6% of all abortions were early medical abortions (a nonsurgical abortion at ≤9 weeks’ gestation). Use of early medical abortion increased 9% from 2017 to 2018 and 120% from 2009 to 2018. Source: MMWR. 2020;69(7).