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Number of deaths resulting from abortions in the U.S. 1973-2017

The number of abortion-related deaths in the U.S. has decreased dramatically since 1973. In 1973, the number of deaths related to abortions was 47. As of 2017, the number of reported deaths related to abortions had decreased to just 2. Abortion is the act of ending a pregnancy so that it does not result in the birth of a baby.

Abortions in the U.S.

Abortions can be performed in a surgical setting or a medical setting (the pill). The number of legal abortions reported in the U.S. has been on the decline in recent years. The most frequently performed kind of abortion in the U.S. in 2016 were surgical abortions, which includes procedures such as curettage or vacuum aspiration. Abortion and the legality and morality of the procedure has been a publicly debated topic in recent years.

Public opinions on abortion

In the first half of 2019 at least 8 states had passed laws to limit or ban abortions. In general, most U.S. women believe that legislation that protects access to abortions (Roe vs. Wade) should not be overturned. Opinions on abortions can be divided into two campaigns. Pro-choice is the belief that women have the right to decide when they want to become pregnant and if they want to terminate the pregnancy through an abortion. Pro-life, is the belief that women should not be able to choose to have an abortion in any situation. The percentage of the U.S. population that is pro-choice has remained stable over the years. However, a recent survey has indicated that more people in the U.S. thought abortions were morally wrong as opposed to morally acceptable.

Number of abortion-related deaths reported in the U.S. from 1973 to 2017

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Release date

November 2020


United States

Survey time period

1973 to 2017

Age group

15-44 years

Supplementary notes

Includes both legal and illegal abortions. An abortion is defined as legal if it was performed by a licensed clinician within the limits of state law. An abortion is defined as illegal if it was performed by any person other than a licensed clinician.

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Statistics on "Abortion in the U.S."

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