Abortion Rates Again Trend Down

A recent “Fact Check” by the Arizona Republic reported as “mostly true” that Arizona is the most pro-life state in the country. Okay, the paper said most “anti-abortion,” but I prefer to use the term “pro-life.”

Over the last 10 years, pro-life laws in Arizona have led to abortion rates trending down. The recently released 2017 Abortion Report by the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) reminds us all that moving forward as a state that protects human life from its very beginning and provides for mother’s health and safety depends on what happens in next Tuesday’s General Election.

The report shows that there were a total of 12,533 abortions in Arizona in 2017, down 799 from the 2016 high of 13,332. As anticipated, the 2016 numbers were an anomaly. The downward trend started in 2011 as the pro-life laws started to take effect and continues to today:


Most significantly, the abortion rate in 2017 was 9.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 – 44 years, the lowest it has been since new abortion reporting laws took effect in 2011. The below graph from the 2017 Abortion Report from DHS shows this downward trend:


According to the latest data from the CDC, the U.S. abortion rate in 2014 was 12.1. This places Arizona’s abortion rate of 9.2 far below the national average. Make no mistake, however, the abortion numbers still are too high. More needs to be done to meet the needs of women considering an abortion so that both lives are spared the tragedy of abortion.

Other interesting statistics in the report include:

  1. 86% of women having abortions were unmarried, meaning only 14% were married.

Once again, we see the cultural necessity of restoring the value of marriage as the best family structure for men, women, and children. Nearly 60% abortions were in the 20 to 29 year-age group.

  1. Surgical abortions account for 63% and chemical/medical abortions account for 37% of all abortions.
  1. A reported 157 abortions were performed at or after 21 weeks, with 65% of all abortions before 8 weeks.

Regrettably, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the Arizona law– protecting mother’s health and safety as well as preborn children– that prohibited abortions after 20 weeks.

  1. March continues to be the month in which the highest number of abortions are performed.

The monthly numbers show the value of data. Pro-life efforts to reach women considering an abortion need to be focused in the months showing the highest number of abortions, starting with March. Most likely, these abortions result from conceptions over the Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day holidays.

Due to the CAP-supported law passing this year to update and enhance our abortion reporting requirements, the state will begin reporting more complete and useful data next year. It will include for example, information on the state’s informed consent process, reasons for the abortion, the types of facilities and doctors involved in abortion, and more detailed information on abortion complications.

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