Abortion surveillance -- United States, 2001
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    PROBLEM/CONDITION: CDC began abortion surveillance in 1969 to document the number and characteristics of women obtaining legal induced abortions. REPORTING PERIOD COVERED: This report summarizes and describes data voluntarily reported to CDC regarding legal induced abortions obtained in the United States in 2001. DESCRIPTION OF SYSTEM: For each year since 1969, CDC has compiled abortion data by state or area of occurrence. During 1973-1997, data were received from or estimated for 52 reporting areas in the United States: 50 states, the District of Columbia, and New York City. In 1998 and 1999, CDC compiled abortion data from 48 reporting areas. Alaska, California, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma did not report, and data for these states were not estimated. In 2000 and 2001, Oklahoma again reported these data, increasing the number of reporting areas to 49. RESULTS: A total of 853,485 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC for 2001 from 49 reporting areas, representing a 0.5% decrease from the 857,475 legal induced abortions reported by the same 49 reporting areas for 2000. The abortion ratio, defined as the number of abortions per 1,000 live births, was 246 in 2001, compared with 245 reported for 2000. This represents a 0.4% increase in the abortion ratio. The abortion rate was 16 per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years for 2001, the same as for 2000. For both the 48 and 49 reporting areas, the abortion rate remained relatively constant during 1997-2001. The highest percentages of reported abortions were for women who were unmarried (82%), white (55%) and aged <25 years (52%). Of all abortions for which gestational age was reported, 59% were performed at < or =8 weeks' gestation and 88% at <13 weeks. From 1992 (when detailed data regarding early abortions were first collected) through 2001, steady increases have occurred in the percentage of abortions performed at < or =6 weeks' gestation. A limited number of abortions were obtained at >15 weeks' gestation, including 4.3% at 16-20 weeks and 1.4% at > or =21 weeks. A total of 35 reporting areas submitted data stating that they performed medical (nonsurgical) procedures, making up 2.9% of all reported procedures from the 45 areas with adequate reporting on type of procedure. In 2000 (the most recent year for which data are available), 11 women died as a result of complications from known legal induced abortion. No deaths were associated with known illegal abortion. INTERPRETATION: During 1990-1997, the number of legal induced abortions gradually declined. When the same 48 reporting areas are compared, the number of abortions decreased during 1996-2001. In 2000 and 2001, even with one additional reporting state, the number of abortions declined slightly. In 2000, as in previous years, deaths related to legal induced abortions occurred rarely (less than one death per 100,000 abortions). PUBLIC HEALTH ACTION: Abortion surveillance in the United States continues to provide the data necessary for examining trends in numbers and characteristics of women who obtain legal induced abortions and to increase understanding of this pregnancy outcome. Policymakers and program planners use these data to improve the health and well-being of women and infants.
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    Lilo T. Strauss, Joy Herndon, Jeani Chang, Wilda Y. Parker, Sonya V. Bowens, Suzanne B. Zane, Cynthia J. Berg, Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

    Includes bibliographical references (p. 9-10).

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