Abortion Facts That May Surprise You

abortion facts

In light of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, new abortion facts may shed light on the issue that people weren’t aware of before. | Source: ShutterStock

Chances are you’ve heard more abortion opinions in your life than abortion facts. I’m not here to tell you which side to take–that’s your business and it’s your body, so it’s not my place to sway you one way or the other. I’m just here to give you information so you can decide for yourself what you’d do in a particular situation.

With that said, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is approaching on January 22. For those of you unfamiliar, Roe v. Wade was the Supreme Court case that made abortion legal nationwide in 1973. Here are some pretty interesting abortion facts that may surprise you–or at least get you thinking enough to question some of the stigmas associated with both the pro-life and pro-choice arguments.

First, abortion is probably more common than you realize, because so many women don’t talk about their experiences with it. By age 45, roughly half of the women in the U.S. will have an unplanned pregnancy–and one third of those women will have an abortion.

As for when most American women have abortions, 58 percent have them during their 20s, and the far majority–88 percent–of women who get abortions get them within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. (This makes a lot of those scary anti-abortion ads you may see with bloody fetuses a little less valid, though depending on the state, those can still happen.) What’s more, seven out of ten women who had abortions wish they would have gotten them even sooner than they did.

Who’s getting abortions? Also a little surprising. 73 percent of women who get abortions are religiously affiliated in some capacity. Less surprising? 69 percent of women who get abortions are dealing with economic hardship–and six out of ten of them already have a kid.

While a lot of women who get abortions face economic difficulties, the bulk of these women (about 57 percent) also pay for their abortions out of their own pockets, even if they have insurance. (Sometimes their health insurance doesn’t cover abortion, other times they want to make sure it’s kept confidential.)

Some abortion facts are kind of sad: a lot of women who would seek abortions can’t or don’t, because access is being restricted in a lot of areas–and women often have to travel over 50 miles to get an abortion. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, but considering most women who get or seek abortions already suffer from economic hardships, that travel and the time that goes with it can be really taxing. That results in later or cancelled abortions, potentially more complications and potentially more economic hardship. See the cycle that’s starting?

Again–not telling you what to believe. It’s your right to agree or disagree with abortion in general, and we love having an open discussion about it. But it’s also your responsibility to remain informed about decisions that affect you, your body and your health, and for the health, bodies and rights of other women as well. (Not all of us are lucky enough to be well-educated and financially stable!) For more abortion facts–illustrated in pretty awesome graphs–check out these infographics from the Guttmacher Institute.

Where do you get your abortion facts? Do these abortion facts change or reinforce your views on the topic? Tell us in the comments!

What’s an abortion really like?

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  • Jess

    Outlawing abortion won’t get rid of abortion. It will get rid of safe abortions. I’m pro-life: the life of the woman who decides to get an abortion is a life as well. It is not a decision a woman makes easily on her way to go do the grocery shopping, it is a difficult decision one does not take lightly. As for the “future Beethovens and Nick Cannons” of the world, sure, the blastocyst could eventually grow up to solve world hunger, but it is statistically unlikely, especially if they are born into poverty and other such circumstances. What about the woman who was on her way to college to become the next scientist, novelist, doctor but had to drop out? Adoption must certainly be the way to go, because there aren’t enough children in that system already, right?
    If a woman is not allowed to choose what is right for herself, what rights does she have? In the eyes of the people who are anti-choice, a blastocyst (and a corporation, even) can be considered a person, but a woman can not.

    • dray linch

      The aborted unborn child is either not considered a person or it is a murdered person

  • Hailey

    I’m not all that informed with the abortion battles, but I do read them. Apparently, in Texas (where I am), an abortion law restricts abortions after 20 weeks. I read another article that, because of that, not only are many abortion clinics having to shut down (I think because of the stipulations in the law, or financial issues) Texas women are going to cross the border to Mexico for treatment there. I find it sad that a lot of the people making these laws for women’s health are men. It irks me to no extent.

    • Ali Martinez

      20 weeks (approximately 5 months) is not just an abortion-it is an INDUCTION of LABOR after killing the fetus inside the womb-most times by burning it with a strong saline solution. Once labor starts or is induced, the baby should be still born-yet sometimes it’s not. Fetuses can be viable at 20 weeks, so some form of terminating life after birth is required if not dead. This is not criticism – these are facts. Respectfully – Ali Martinez

  • TruthBeTold

    It is everyone’s business when someone is being abused and they have the intelligence to intervene. Abortion is abusive and if people intervene in child abuse situations, why shouldn’t there be laws against abortions?

    Why is it when a dad doesn’t want to take care of a kid he’s a deadbeat dad but when it’s a woman that doesn’t want to take care of a kid she’s pro-choice. Why is it that people who are pro-choice were once fetuses that were given the right to live and now they want to deny that right to another fetus? Why does federal law protect animals, their eggs, plants, etc… but a human ‘egg’ is not protected? Why should a fetus be aborted because of abnormalities – isn’t that discrimination against disabilities? Plants and cells are living organisms, yogurt cultures even – none of those take a breath but are considered living organisms. Talk about double standards.

    Adoption is a great alternative – for those in financial diuress the adoptive parents will pay for prenatal care, in addition to other costs. Also, the statistics show that there are more long-term psychological problems after abortions than there are after adoptions; do your own homework on that before you claim adoptions are worse than abortions. Adoptions are selfless – that’s the real issue at hand. There’s a couple wanting a child, a child wanting to be born but the mom gets selfish so nobody gets anything.

    Even in instances of rape and incest, a child can be the beauty that brings healing to an ugly situation. Without having the child, it’s rape and an abortion to deal with = keeping the child leaves you to just deal with rape.

    Have you done your homework about the successful people that wouldn’t be here if their moms chose abortion? If you agree that abortion is okay, then you’ve just indicated that it would have been okay for Nick Cannon and Beethoven to not have been born.

    • TruthBeTold

      Look up the video that Nick Cannon made about the trip to the abortion clinic that his mom made and do some research about Beethoven’s mom considering abortion. Maybe we would have found cures for a lot more diseases if we didn’t continue with this holocaust on babies and getting rid of future scientists and doctors.

  • Madi

    I’m completely against abortion. I know that it can be expensive and there are good reasons for it but it’s still murder and a life is still being lost. That baby is a person and every person should have a chance at life? The person is their own person not the woman’s person and who made that woman who is pregnant powerful enough to choose who gets to live and who doesn’t? I’m not here to judge im just stating the facts.

  • Finding_Me

    I personally wouldn’t get an abortion if I had an unplanned pregnancy, but I don’t hate women who do get them. A women is entitled to saving her child from an awful life in the system (which is one way of thinking of it) or saving the child from a life full of pain, because lets face it, most kids who are put in adoption centers end up in foster care their entire childhood. And honestly I think when people say that those women are killing a life, their not concerned about the child, but the womens fate when judgement day comes because they have indirectly killed someone……..it’s a religious thing.

    • dduncan

      It is NOT a religious thing…It is a moral thing. I’m pro-choice…choose to make the right choice in the first place and you won’t be faced with committing murder!!

  • Maddi

    Sorry, I meant Sophie not Maya.

  • Maddi

    I am 100% pro-choice.
    It’s no one else’s business what a woman chooses to do with her body and her circumstances.
    @Maya, adoption isn’t some nonchalant way to get rid of an unwanted child, adoption is a HUGE deal. Pregnancy in itself isn’t cheap and some women are in such a financial state that they really can’t afford to carry a child to term. Then there’s the issue of actually giving away your child, everything in your body is telling you to love and care for your child after you give birth, to just give your baby to someone else isn’t an easy decision and studies have shown women that put their children up for adoption have intense long-term psychological problems.
    I hate when people suggest adoption as an alternative to an abortion because it’s not. An abortion doesn’t require that you go through 9 months of pregnancy then childbirth, just to give away everything you worked for.

    I’m not trying to change your opinion on it because it is your opinion, but I’m going to ask you to not suggest adoption as an alternative when it’s not an alternative to abortion – it’s a completely different situation.

    Abortions should be legal everywhere, women deserve a right to choose what to do with their body and situation without being judged by every other human on the planet. It’s no one else’s business but her own.

  • Samantha

    I’m definitely pro-choice. In some cases, abortion is the best option. If the child will have horrible birth defects, or if the mother has a strong chance of death during childbirth would be cases in which abortion would be one of the better options.

  • Dayala

    Like I said before..when its us, its an abortion but when its a chicken egg, its an omelette? That egg had a fetus inside of it also, a baby. But people are so absorbed in humanity they don’t understand that if you stand for one you have to stand for all. I’m pro choice.

    • Sara

      Actually, most chicken eggs we eat are not fertilized i.e., no baby inside. Chickens go through a regular laying cycle to get rid of the unfertilized egg, much like a human menstrual cycle.

    • Nychii

      Sorry, just couldn’t help but comment, but…the chicken eggs that we eat are unfertilized. Actually, a simple way to think about it is the eggs we eat are really the female chicken’s period (sorry, probably not the nicest thought…you can probably look up a nicer explanation on google or something…hehe). That basically means that there was never a chicken fetus inside those little round shells.
      So really your argument is invalid. But I do agree with you on the pro-choice thing, just not for the same reason (I just don’t care enough about what everyone else does :P)
      Cheers 🙂

  • MissusH

    Well honestly in my opinion abortion is pretty much like murder, its cutting off a form of life. I am open to everyone’s opinion and try to see their side of the story but generally I’m all-round against abortion!

  • Sophie

    I don’t agree with abortion. Adoption is always another option. My best friend is a rape baby. Her mom was 15, and was sexually assaulted when a man broke into her home. She was planing on getting an abortion, when she walked by an adoption agency. She kept the baby, and she (the baby) was adopted by a loving family. Every baby deserves a chance at life.

  • maya

    Abortion is icky all round, and I don’t agree with it AT ALL. I’m really glad my country doesn’t allow commercial abortions, but I know that it’s not my place to judge those who do have abortions. It’s something that is personal to them and if someone confided in me that they chose to have an abortion, I wouldn’t preach to them or tell them they’re going to hell.