Abortions increased in the United States in 2020, reversing a 30-year decline, according to research group Guttmacher Institute.
The statistics were released as the Supreme Court is poised to possibly overturn Roe v. Wade this month.
The Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, found that the number of abortions increased to 930,160 in 2020, from 862,320 in 2017, about an 8% increase. In 2020, 1 in 5 pregnancies (20.6%), ended in abortion, compared with 18.4% in 2017.
During this period, births nationwide declined by 6%, meaning that “fewer people were getting pregnant and, among those who did, a larger proportion chose to have an abortion,” according to the report.
The number of abortions increased in all four regions of the country: West (12%), Midwest (10%), South (8%) and Northeast (2%).
The Supreme Court looks set to vote to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion, according to a leaked initial draft majority opinion published last month that was verified by the court.
At least 26 states are likely to ban abortion following if the Supreme Court overturns Roe in its official decision. Some have already shut down clinics that provide abortion services.
“An increase in abortion numbers is a positive development if it means people are getting the healthcare they want and need,” the Guttmacher Institute said in a statement. “Rather than focusing on reducing abortion, policies should instead center on the needs of people and protect their right to bodily autonomy.”
The Guttmacher Institute said 52% of facilities it contacted provided data on the number of abortions. State health department data was used to determine the number of abortions at 17% of facilities while the total number was estimated for the remaining 31%, the group said.
Reasons for the uptick, the group suggests, include expanded Medicaid coverage of abortion care, an increase in local and national abortion funds, and steady access to abortion care in states during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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