Abortion statistics and other data

by Wm. Robert Johnston
last updated 18 November 2008


Abortion data summaries and maps

data: maps:
United States:

Additional abortion analyses

Comments on abortion statistics

Abortion statistics and other data is intended to improve the accessibility of abortion statistics. It is under continuing development. The reader should be aware that abortion statistics are often hard to obtain, and those statistics that are available are frequently inaccurate.

Official abortion statistics are often low due to incomplete reporting. In the United States, for example, not all states mandate such reporting. Even in those states that require or encourage reporting of abortion statistics, this reporting is incomplete (as demonstrated by higher numbers reported to abortion advocacy organizations). From 1988 to 1997, the total number of U.S. abortions reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control was 11.3% lower than the total number reported to the Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research branch of Planned Parenthood). In 1998 four states discontinued state-level gathering of abortion statistics, contributing to the 25.4% drop in CDC figures from 1997 to 1998.

In contrast, other organizations that provide estimates of abortion statistics may be motivated to inflate the numbers. Currently, the Alan Guttmacher Institute is an important source for estimates of both legal and illegal abortions worldwide. AGI is an extension of an organization engaged in intense political lobbying for the completely unrestrained practice of abortion. High abortion rates are in their political (and financial) interests for a number of reasons. For example, high numbers of illegal abortions are an element of their rationalization for legalized abortion.

Thus, when AGI estimates high rates of illegal abortions in the developing world these estimates bear scrutiny. Many such estimates are based on limited surveys. Some such surveys are limited to urban areas, which are not representative of rural areas. Other studies use compound assumptions to develop a figure for illegal abortions from data on hospitalizations for miscarriages.

Few pro-life organizations conduct their own statistical research, but such groups that make estimates of abortion numbers may also be inclined to accept higher figures as worst-case scenarios.

The following pages also include figures on live births and miscarriages. In many developing nations reporting of live births is incomplete. In all countries data on miscarriages is incomplete and is also subject to varying definitions. Reported miscarriages generally include only those pregnancies of a certain minimum gestation, often 20 weeks.

The country listings below contain some or all of the following columns:

Figures for Czechoslovakia, East Germany, the U.S.S.R., and the Panama Canal Zone end with the last year those countries/territories existed as intact/separate entities. Tables for Soviet successor states include data for the corresponding republics prior to independence; these figures are included in the corresponding U.S.S.R. totals. Data for the Federal Republic of Germany applies to reunited Germany from 1990 onward.

For U.S. states, abortion ratios and percentages are based on abortion figures from different sources with different completeness; the mixed figures are not reliable time series.

Information on sources

List of sources

The above list of sources includes references for all abortion statistics pages below. Most individual pages below include a listing of respective references (the above list includes sources for those pages with source lists under construction).

Review of sources and useful links

State agency sources of abortion statistics

Historical abortion statistics by country

United States: historical abortion statistics by state

United States: county-level abortion data by state

Australia: historical abortion statistics by state and territory

Belarus: figures and rates by oblast

Canada: historical abortion statistics by province and territory

P.R. China: figures and rates by region

Czech Republic: figures and rates by region

Denmark: figures and rates by county

Estonia: figures and rates by county

Finland: figures and rates by hospital district

France: figures and rates by department

Germany: figures and rates by state

Hungary: figures and rates by region

India: figures and rates by state and territory

Italy: figures and rates by region

Kazakhstan: figures and rates by region

Kosovo: figures and rates by municipality

Lithuania: figures and rates by county and municipality

Mongolia: figures and rates by region

Netherlands: figures and rates by province

Norway: figures and rates by county

Romania: figures and rates by county

Russia: figures and rates by region

Slovakia: figures and rates by region

South Africa: figures and rates by province

Spain: figures and rates by autonomous community; figures and rates by province

Sweden: figures and rates by county

United Kingdom: historical abortion statistics by region

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Copyright 2000-2007, 2008 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 18 November 2008.
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