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Teen Abortions
Teen Abortions

Headline

The abortion rate among teens ages 15 to 17 has declined by 45 percent since 1990, from

26.5 abortions per 1,000 teen females in 1990 to 14.5 abortions per 1,000 teen females in

2000. (See Figure 1) Overall, teen abortion rates have been declining since the late 1980s.

Importance

More than one-third of all teenage pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion. 1 The vast majority of teenage pregnancies are unintended, and close to half of those unintended pregnancies (45 percent) end in an abortion. 2 Teens may choose to have an abortion because they have concerns about how a baby would change their lives (for example, completing their education), they worry about financial problems, or they feel that they are not mature enough to become a parent. 3 Abortion levels can decline if the high rate of unintended pregnancies is reduced or if more pregnant teens carry their pregnancy to term.

Trends

Government estimates indicate that teen abortion rates increased during the 1970s, stabilized during the 1980s at around 43 per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19, then decreased steadily to 24.0 per 1,000 by 2000. Recent declines have been especially large among teens ages 15 to 17. (See Figure 1)

Rates for non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic females have all fallen substantially during the 1990s, although declines did not start for Hispanic females until

1992. (See Figure 2)

Differences by Age

Younger teens have a lower abortion rate than older teens. In 2000, teens under age 15 4 had an abortion rate of 0.9 per 1,000, compared with 14.5 per 1,000 for teens ages 15 to 17 and 37.7 per 1,000 among teens ages 18 to 19. (See Figure 1)

Differences by Race and Ethnicity

Non-Hispanic black teens have much higher abortion rates than non-Hispanic white and Hispanic teens. In 2000, there were 14.8 abortions per 1,000 non-Hispanic white adolescent females ages 15-19, compared with 57.4 per 1,000 among non-Hispanic black adolescent females and 30.3 per 1,000 among Hispanic adolescent females. (See Figure

2)

1,000 among non-Hispanic black adolescent females and 30.3 per 1,000 among Hispanic adolescent females. ( See

State and Local Estimates

State estimates are available from “Abortion Surveillance — United States, 1999” http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5109a1.htm#tab5 (See Tables 4, 5, 16, and 17) and from “U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics: Overall Trends, Trends by Race and Ethnicity and State-by-State Informationat:

http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/state_pregnancy_trends.pdf (See Tables 2, 3, 4, and 6)

International Estimates

International estimates for select countries are available from “Adolescent Pregnancy and Childbearing: Levels and Trends in Developed Countries” at:

http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/journals/3201400.pdf

International estimates also are available from UNICEF’s research center at:

http://www.unicef-icdc.org/publications/index.html

National Goals

Healthy People 2010 includes several national goals relevant for teen abortion including reductions in pregnancy, increases in rates of abstinence, and, among the sexually active, increases in condom use.

More information available at:

http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/document/html/objectives/09-07.htm

(See goals 9-7 through 9-10)

Definition

Abortion rates are calculated by dividing the number of abortions by the population (in thousands). For example, among adolescent females ages 15 to 19, the abortion rate is calculated by dividing the number of abortions to females ages 15 to 19 by the number of females ages 15 to 19 in the population (in thousands). For adolescent females under age 15, the rate is calculated by dividing the number of abortions by the population of females ages 10-14. Data presented in Table 1, from 1976-2000, were collected from surveys administered to abortion providers.

Data Source

Data for 1990-2000: Ventura SJ, Abma JC, Mosher WD, Henshaw S. Estimated Pregnancy Rates for the United States, 1990-2000: An Update. National vital statistics reports; vol 52 no 23. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 2004. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_23.pdf (See Table 1)

Na tional Center for Hea lth Statistics. 2004. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_23.pdf (See Table 1)

Data for 1976-1989: Ventura SJ, Mosher WD, Curtin SC, Abma JC, Henshaw S. “Trends in Pregnancies and Pregnancy Rates by Outcome: Estimates for the United States, 1976- 1996.National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 21(56). 2000. Table 3.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_21/sr21_056.pdf

Raw Data Source

For government produced estimates presented in Table 1 see

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_21/sr21_056.pdf

(See Sources of Data in Appendix, p. 45)

Approximate Date of Next Update

Unknown

1 Jones, R.K., Darroch, J.E., & Henshaw, S.K. (2002). Patterns of socioeconomic characteristics of women obtaining abortions in 2000-2001. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 34(5): 226-235.

http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/journals/3422602.pdf

2 Henshaw, S. (1998). Unintended pregnancy in the United States. Family Planning Perspective, 30(1):

Table 1. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3002498.html

3 The Alan Guttmacher Institute. (1999). Facts in Brief: Teen Sex and Pregnancy. New York, New York:

The Alan Guttmacher Institute. http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/fb_teen_sex.html

4 Rates computed by relating the number of events to women under age 15 years to women aged 10-14 years.

4 Rates computed by relating the number of events to women under age 15 years to

Figure 1

Abortion Rates (abortions per 1,000 females) for Females Under Age 20, by Age, 1976-2000

15-19 Years-old Under Age 15* 15-17 Years-old 18-19 Years-old 70.0 62.0 60.0 50.0 49.3 43.5
15-19 Years-old
Under Age 15*
15-17 Years-old
18-19 Years-old
70.0
62.0
60.0
50.0
49.3
43.5
40.0
37.7
34.3
30.6
30.0
24.0
24.2
20.0
14.5
10.0
2.0
1.6
0.9
0.0
Abortions per 1,000 Females
14.5 10.0 2.0 1.6 0.9 0.0 Abortions per 1,000 Females 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

*Rates computed by relating the number of events to women under age 15 years to women aged 10-14 years. Source: Data for 1976-1989: Ventura SJ, Mosher WD, Curtin SC, Abma JC, Henshaw S. "Trends in Pregnancies and Pregnancy Rates by Outcome: Estimates for the United States, 1976-1996." Table 3. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 21 (56). 2000. Data for 1990-2000: Ventura SJ, Abma JC, Mosher WD, Henshaw S. Estimated Pregnancy Rates for the United States, 1990-2000: An update. National vital statistics reports; vol 52 no 23. Hyattsville, Maryland:

National Center for Health Statistics. 2004. Table 1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_23.pdf

2000

2005
2005
National Center for Health Statistics. 2004. Table 1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_23.pdf 2000 2005

Figure 2

Abortion Rates (abortions per 1,000 females) for Females Ages 15-19 by Race and Hispanic Origin, 1976-2000

90 83.5 80 Black, non-Hispanic 70 60 57.4 50 Total 41.6 Hispanic 40 39.1 34.3
90
83.5
80
Black, non-Hispanic
70
60
57.4
50
Total
41.6
Hispanic
40
39.1
34.3
30.3
32.5
30
24.0
20
White, non-Hispanic
14.8
10
0
1973
1976
1979
1982
1985
1988
1991
1994
1997
2000
2003
Abortions per 1,000 Females

Source: Data for 1976-1989: Ventura SJ, Mosher WD, Curtin SC, Abma JC, Henshaw S. "Trends in Pregnancies and Pregnancy Rates by Outcome: Estimates for the United States, 1976-1996." Table 3. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 21(56). 2000. Data for 1990-2000: Ventura SJ, Abma JC, Mosher WD, Henshaw S. Estimated Pregnancy Rates for the United States, 1990- 2000: An update. National vital statistics reports; vol 52 no 23. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 2004. Table 1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_23.pdf

Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 2004. Table 1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_23.pdf

Table 1

Abortion Rates (abortions per 1,000 females) for Female Adolescents by Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin, Selected Years,

1976-2000

 

1976

1980

1985

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

15-19 Years-old

34.3

42.7

43.5

40.3

37.4

35.2

33.9

31.6

29.4

28.6

27.1

25.8

24.7

24.0

Race/Ethnicity

White, non-Hispanic

-

-

-

32.5

28.7

25.3

24.0

21.8

20.5

19.3

18.6

16.9

15.5

14.8

Black, non-Hispanic

-

-

-

83.5

80.0

78.6

76.9

71.2

64.6

64.1

61.3

58.6

58.1

57.4

Hispanic 1

-

-

-

39.1

39.6

41.6

39.7

39.0

35.8

35.7

32.7

33.7

32.1

30.3

Under 15 Years-old 2

1.6

1.7

2.0

1.5

1.4

1.4

1.4

1.3

1.2

1.1

1.0

1.0

0.9

0.9

Race/Ethnicity

White, non-Hispanic

-

-

-

0.8

0.7

0.7

0.6

0.6

0.6

0.5

0.5

0.4

0.4

0.3

Black, non-Hispanic

-

-

-

5.4

5.1

5.1

4.8

4.6

3.9

3.8

3.2

3.2

3.0

2.9

Hispanic 1

-

-

-

1.1

1.4

1.5

1.4

1.4

1.2

1.2

1.1

1.1

1.0

1.0

15-17 Years-old

24.2

30.1

30.6

26.5

24.2

22.9

22.2

21.0

19.5

18.6

17.2

16.4

15.2

14.5

Race/Ethnicity

White, non-Hispanic

-

-

-

21.1

18.3

16.0

15.4

14.1

13.4

12.6

11.8

10.7

9.4

8.5

Black, non-Hispanic

-

-

-

57.7

54.5

53.5

52.6

49.1

44.6

42.4

39.5

38.0

36.7

37.3

Hispanic 1

-

-

-

24.3

24.2

26.8

25.5

26.1

23.5

22.9

20.3

21.5

20.2

18.4

18-19 Years-old

49.3

60.6

62.0

57.9

55.7

53.3

51.3

47.9

44.8

44.0

42.6

39.9

38.6

37.7

Race/Ethnicity

White, non-Hispanic

-

-

-

46.8

43.0

38.9

36.9

33.7

31.6

29.8

29.1

26.3

24.6

24.1

Black, non-Hispanic

-

-

-

117.4

115.0

115.2

113.5

105.8

96.0

97.9

95.0

89.0

89.4

86.8

Hispanic 1

-

-

-

59.5

61.7

63.3

60.7

58.0

54.0

54.9

51.4

51.6

49.1

47.3

1 Includes all persons of Hispanic origin of any race.

 

2 Rates computed by relating the number of events to women under age 15 years to women aged 10-14 years

 

Source: Data for 1976-1989: Ventura SJ, Mosher WD, Curtin SC, Abma JC, Henshaw S. Trends in pregnancies and pregnancy rates by outcome: Estimates for the United States, 1976-1996. Table 3. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 21(56). 2000. Data for 1990-2000: Ventura SJ, Abma JC, Mosher WD, Henshaw S. Estimated Pregnancy Rates for the United States, 1990-2000: An update. National vital statistics reports; vol 52 no 23. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 2004. Table 1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_23.pdf

Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 2004. Table 1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_23.pdf