While the abortion rate dropped between 2000 and 2008 overall in the USA, among women whose family incomes are below the federal poverty level it rose, researchers from the Guttmacher Institute wrote in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. 40% of all abortions in America in 2008 were performed on poor women.

The authors believe that the current recession has resulted in a lower percentage of women receiving contractive services, leading to more unwanted pregnancies. Moreover, some women may have decided that their household is not financially stable enough to take on another child, given the economic climate in the country at the moment.

Below are some highlighted data from the report:

  • The abortion rate rose 18% between 2000 and 2008 among poor women
  • 44.4 abortions per 1,000 women occurred among poor women in 2000, compared to 52.2 in 2008
  • The overall abortion rate dropped from 21.3 per 1000 in 2000 to 19.6 per 1000 in 2008 – a decline of 8%
  • The abortion rate among African-American women dropped 18% during the same period
  • Even so, the abortion rate among African-American women is still very high, at 40.2 per thousand
  • The abortion rate among Hipstanic women is 28.7 per 1000
  • The abortion rate among non-Hispanic white women is 11.5 per 1000

According to the researchers, almost 1 in every 10 females of reproductive age in America will have an abortion by the time she is 20, one-quarter by 30 years of age and almost one-third by 45 years. In 1992 about 43% of US women had an abortion by 45 years of age, compared to 30% in 2008.

Study author Rachel K. Jones, said:

“That abortion is becoming increasingly concentrated among poor women suggests the need for better contraceptive access and family planning counseling. It certainly appears these women are being underserved. Antiabortion restrictions and cuts to publicly funded family planning services disproportionately affect poor women, making it even more difficult for them to gain access to the contraceptive and abortion services they need.”

Teenage abortions dropped 22% from 2000 to 2008, the authors added, from 14.6 per 1,000 to 11.3 per 1,000 per year. Teenagers accounted for 6% of all US abortions in 2008.

“Changes in Abortion Rates Between 2000 and 2008 and Lifetime Incidence of Abortion”
Rachel K. Jones and Megan L. Kavanaugh
Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Written by Christian Nordqvist