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Abortion in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

Abortion has long been a controversial subject in U.S. society. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that women had a right to have an abortion in the landmark Roe v. Wade case. Nevertheless, individual States are free to enact laws that restrict the practice and availability of abortion. In this way, the tug-of-war between so-called “pro-choice” and “pro-life” advocates continues and the availability of abortion depends greatly on which state or region a woman lives. However, a draft opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court's upcoming decision on abortion that was leaked in early May 2022 suggests that the court is set to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling, allowing individual states to ban abortion completely if they so choose. Although the Court's ruling is not expected to be officially announced until late June or early July 2022, the leak has already lead to protests and fears that millions of women in the United States could lose their right to abortion.

How many abortions take place in the U.S. each year?

Despite the debate and difficulties surrounding access to abortion, thousands of women have legal abortions in the United States every year. In 2019, there were approximately 630,000 legal abortions reported in the United States. At that time, the abortion rate in the U.S. was highest among women aged 20 to 24 years with around 19 legal abortions reported per 1,000 women in this age group. However, the abortion rate among this age group has decreased significantly over the past couple decades. The U.S. states with the highest number of abortions in 2019 were New York, Florida, and Texas. In that year, there were around 78,587 abortions performed in the state of New York.

Are more people "pro-life" or "pro-choice"?

Public opinion in the U.S. remains divided on the issue of abortion. A survey from May 2021 found 49 percent of Americans considered themselves pro-choice and 47 percent considered themselves pro-life. The same survey found that younger adults were more likely to support making abortion legal under any circumstance, with 41 percent of those aged 18 to 34 believing so, compared to just 27 percent of those aged 55 and older. Furthermore, college graduates were much more likely to support making abortion legal under any circumstance than those who did not graduate from college. Unfortunately, the issue of abortion is such a divisive topic in the United States that it has lead to instances of violence. From 1970 to 2019 there were 258 abortion-related terrorist attacks in the United States, making abortion-related facilities the fourth most common target of terror attacks in the United States during this period.

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