Abortion By the Numbers: Here's What You Need to Know

abortion statistics laws supreme court roe v wade
credit: Karolina Grabowska

As reported by Politico earlier this week, the Supreme Court is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, effectively ending a person’s right to a safe and legal abortion.

A leaked draft of the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito uses strong language condemning Roe V. Wade calling it “egregiously wrong.”

The 1973 Roe V. Wade decision was a landmark decision in reproductive rights and protected a pregnant person’s right to choose an abortion without excessive government restrictions.

However, over the past year in particular, state governments have begun pushing back, testing the limits of what those restrictions could be.

Most notoriously, Texas passed a near-total abortion ban, preventing people from getting an abortion past six weeks. However, it takes at least five weeks before a potential pregnancy would even show up on an ultrasound. And that’s assuming a pregnant person even knows to get an ultrasound. According to Dr. Dana R. Gossett via the New York Times, clinical symptoms of pregnancy don’t start until after six weeks.

If the Supreme Court follows through with this abhorrent decision, millions of people’s lives and health will be at risk.

To understand the full scope of the situation, we’ve gathered a few statistics to help you understand what it would mean and who it would affect should Roe be overturned.

Who Gets Abortions?

U.S. Abortion Patients

24% of abortion patients are Catholic, 17% are Protestant, and 13% are Evangelical Protestant. In total, 62% of abortion patients are religiously affiliated. (Guttmacher)

39% of abortion patients are white, 28% Black, 25% Hispanic, 6% Asian/Pacific Islander, 3% other. (Guttmacher)

75% of abortion patients are low-income or living below the poverty line. (Guttmacher)

59% of abortion patients are already mothers. (Guttmacher)

How Has Roe V. Wade Affected the Number of Abortions?

Abortion Incidence in the United States, 2017

Since the passing of Roe, abortion rates have reached a historic low at only 13.5 abortions per 1,000 cisgender women. (Guttmacher)

Reported abortion-related deaths have significantly declined in the U.S. In 1973, there were 47 abortion-related deaths but in 2018 there were only 2. (Statistica)

How Have Anti-Abortion Laws Evolved Over the Years?

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns or guts Roe v. Wade, 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion

In 2021, 108 abortion restrictions were enacted, the most restrictions per year since Roe.

Currently, 13 states are attempted to ban abortion at 6 or 8 weeks of pregnancy. Texas is the only state that actually has this ban in effect. All other bans are currently being blocked by the courts.

22 states are almost certain to attempt to ban abortion if Roe is overturned including Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Oklahoma. (Guttmacher)

What Should You Know About Worldwide Abortions?

73 million people induce abortions each year worldwide: 6 out of 10 unintended pregnancies and 3 out of 10 of all pregnancies in general. (WHO)

Abortion rates are highest in countries with legal restrictions around abortion and the lowest in high-income countries where abortion and contraception are easily accessible. (News Medical Life Sciences)

Global estimates show 45% of all induced abortions are unsafe with 1/3 being performed under the least safe conditions (untrained professionals, invasive methods). (WHO)

Unsafe abortions are the leading cause of maternal deaths and morbidities worldwide and are also completely preventable. (WHO)

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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.