5 facts about abortion in America

January 16, 2014

This weekend many churches in America will observe Sanctity of Life Sunday. Every year Christians use this day to change lives through sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and connecting God’s Church with women and families in unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. In preparation for the observance, here are five facts you should know about abortion in America.

1. Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, there have been more than 50 million abortions in the United States; estimates are that one out of three American women will have an abortion by the age of 45.

2. In 2008, the latest year for which statistics are available, 1.21 million abortions were performed, 32% below the all-time high of 1.6 million in 1990. However, between 2005 and 2008, the long-term decline in abortions stalled.

3. In 2011, a landmark study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that women face an 81 percent increased risk of mental health problems following abortion. Specifically, women with a history of abortion had a 34 percent increased risk of anxiety, a 37 percent increased risk of depression, a 110 percent increased risk of alcohol use, and a 155 percent increased risk of suicide following abortion.

4. Half of all women who have an abortion every year have had had at least one previous abortion. Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant.

5. More abortion restrictions were enacted at the state level in 2011–2013 than in the entire previous decade. States passed 205 abortion restrictions between 2011 and 2013 with nearly half of the laws (45%) falling into three categories: targeted regulations of abortion providers, bans on abortions after 20 weeks, and restrictions on medical abortions.

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is the author of The Life and Faith Field Guide for Parents, the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible, and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator. He also serves as an executive pastor at the McLean Bible Church Arlington location in Arlington, Virginia. Read More