CDC: D.C. Had Nation’s Highest Reported Ratio of Abortions to Live Births

Terence P. Jeffrey | May 9, 2022 | 4:48pm EDT
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(Photo by Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

( - Among the jurisdictions that reported their abortion numbers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its latest annual Abortion Surveillance report, Washington, D.C. led with the highest number of abortions (501) per each 1,000 live births.

The CDC tracks the annual abortion numbers in 49 jurisdictions that provide it with reports on this data. These jurisdictions include Washington, D.C. and New York City and all of the states except California, Maryland and New Hampshire.  

In addition to tracking the full number of abortions in each reporting jurisdiction, the CDC also tracks what it calls the abortion “rate” and the abortion “ratio” in these jurisdictions. It defines the rate as the “number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years.” It defines the ratio as the “number of abortions per 1,000 live births.”

In 2019, the latest year on record, the District of Columbia had the highest abortion ratio of any reporting jurisdiction. There were 501 abortions in the nation’s capital that year for each 1,000 live births, according to the CDC's "Abortion Surveillance--United States, 2019, which was published Nov. 26, 2021.

New York City had the second-highest abortion ratio in 2019 for the reporting jurisdictions. It had 472 abortions for each 1,000 live births.

New York City was followed by the entirety of New York State (including the city), which had 355 abortions for each 1,000 live births.

After New York State, came Illinois, which had 332 abortions for each 1,000 live births; then Florida (327); Georgia (292); Massachusetts (269); Connecticut (269); Michigan (253); and North Carolina (240).

Wyoming had the lowest abortion ratio—with 5 abortions per 1,000 live births. Missouri had the second lowest (20), followed by South Dakota (36), Utah (62), West Virginia (65), Idaho (69), Kentucky (69), Arkansas (81), Nebraska (84) and Mississippi (87).

When ranked by the actual number of babies aborted in 2019, New York State ranked first with 78,587 abortions. Florida ranked second with 71,914 abortions; and Texas ranked third with 57,275 abortions.

(Texas enacted a law last May that took effect in September—and that the Supreme Court has declined to stop—that bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectable.)

In New York City alone, there were 49,784 abortions in 2019.

Among the states, Texas with its 57,275 abortions in 2019, was followed by Illinois (46,517); Georgia (36,907); Pennsylvania (31,018); North Carolina (28,450); Michigan (27,339); New Jersey (22,178); Ohio (20,102) and Massachusetts (18,593).

In 2019, according to the CDC’s birth report for that year, there were 9,079 babies born alive in Washington, D.C. Another 4,552 were aborted, according to the CDC Abortion Surveillance.

Of those 4,552 babies who were aborted in Washington, D.C. in 2019, 3,126 (or 68.7 percent) were aborted by people who were not residents of the District.

That was the highest percentage of non-resident abortions for any of the 49 jurisdictions reporting their abortions to the CDC.

Kansas ranked second with 48.9 percent of its abortions (3,372 of 6,894) being obtained by out-of-state residents.



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