Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2020
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Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2020

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Surveill Summ
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    CDC conducts abortion surveillance to document the number and characteristics of women obtaining legal induced abortions and number of abortion-related deaths in the United States.

    Period Covered


    Description of System

    Each year, CDC requests abortion data from the central health agencies for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and New York City. For 2020, a total of 49 reporting areas voluntarily provided aggregate abortion data to CDC. Of these, 48 reporting areas provided data each year during 2011–2020. Census and natality data were used to calculate abortion rates (number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years) and ratios (number of abortions per 1,000 live births), respectively. Abortion-related deaths from 2019 were assessed as part of CDC’s Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System (PMSS).


    A total of 620,327 abortions for 2020 were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. Among 48 reporting areas with data each year during 2011–2020, in 2020, a total of 615,911 abortions were reported, the abortion rate was 11.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 198 abortions per 1,000 live births. From 2019 to 2020, the total number of abortions decreased 2% (from 625,346 total abortions), the abortion rate decreased 2% (from 11.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years), and the abortion ratio increased 2% (from 195 abortions per 1,000 live births). From 2011 to 2020, the total number of reported abortions decreased 15% (from 727,554), the abortion rate decreased 18% (from 13.7 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years), and the abortion ratio decreased 9% (from 217 abortions per 1,000 live births).


    Among the 48 areas that reported data continuously during 2011–2020, overall decreases were observed during 2011–2020 in the total number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions. From 2019 to 2020, decreases also were observed in the total number and rate of reported abortions; however, a 2% increase was observed in the total abortion ratio.

    Public Health Action

    Abortion surveillance can be used to help evaluate programs aimed at promoting equitable access to patient-centered quality contraceptive services in the United States to reduce unintended pregnancies.

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