Maps of Percentage of Abortions Unreported to Health Authorities in the United States--by States

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
last updated 2 December 2012

In the United States, abortion policies vary from state to state within the limits defined by federal courts. This variation includes reporting requirements, i.e. whether and to what degree abortion providers must report data to their respective state health agency. In turn, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issues annual reports on abortion in the United States, but these reports are dependent on voluntary reporting by the health agencies of each state, assuming that statistics are gathered at all (although the CDC does supplement data from state agencies with data directly from providers in some cases).

The most complete statistics on abortion in the United States are those from the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) (AGI was founded by Planned Parenthood in 1968 and maintained affiliation with Planned Parenthood until 2007). AGI statistics are estimates based on direct surveys of abortion providers as well as state health agency data. In 2008, the CDC reported 825,564 abortions in the United States, while AGI estimated 1,212,350. AGI has estimated that their figures may be affected by slight underreporting, but if they are assumed accurate, then 32% of U.S. abortions in 2008 were not reported to the CDC. If the CDC figures are supplemented by additional data from state agencies, a total of 917,113 abortions in the United States are known reported to some government agency. This still implies 24% of U.S. abortions were unreported.

This lack of reporting varies from state to state. Nearly all AGI-estimated abortions are also reported by health agencies in a number of states. The nationwide underreporting is dominated by California, which has not provided any data to the CDC since 1999. In 2008, AGI estimated that 18% of abortions in the U.S. were performed in California. The California state Medicare agency reports figures on abortions paid by state funds, but even with these figures about 43% of all unreported abortions in the U.S. are in California. Maryland and New Hampshire also did not report figures to the CDC in 2008. Other states that did not report figures to the CDC for at least one year from 2000 to 2009 are Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, and West Virginia. Other states with high rates of underreporting are Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Michigan, and New Jersey.

(under contruction)

© 2012 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 2 December 2012.
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