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75,000 abortions in Florida in 2020 before Roe v. restrictions and crackdown calf

    Abortion advocates gather in Florida Supreme Court on May 3, 2022.  (Danielle J Brown)
Abortion advocates gather in Florida Supreme Court on May 3, 2022. (Danielle J Brown)

Florida reported more than 74,000 legal abortions among women ages 15 to 44 in 2020, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers, the most recent available, provide a basis against which to measure the abortion restrictions that have been in place since the US Supreme Court Roe v. knocked out Wade in June. This includes a law in Florida that bans most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

The data comes from the Federal Abortion Surveillance Report and covers most US states, and local officials in Washington, DC are sharing their information with the CDC, although California, Maryland and New Hampshire did not report information from 2020 and are therefore excluded from the survey.

That means “CDC is unable to provide the total number of abortions performed in the United States,” according to the report, released this week. It also makes it difficult to analyze how Florida compares to other states.

Florida PhoenixFlorida reported 74,868 abortions in 2020. Of that number, 3,988 abortions, or about 5.3 percent, were performed by out-of-state residents.

The CDC’s report tracks what’s called the abortion rate, the number of abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. For Florida, that rate was 19.1 for the year, among the higher rates in the data set.

Another data point is the “abortion rate,” or the number of abortions per 1,000 live births. For Florida, that was 357.

Statewide (excluding the named states), 620,327 abortions were reported among women ages 15 to 44, down from 625,346 abortions in 2019.

The nationwide abortion rate also fell in those two years, from 11.4 abortions per 1,000 women in 2019 to 11.2 abortions per 1,000 women in 2020.

However, the abortion rate increased. In 2020, the ratio was 198 abortions per 1,000 live births. In 2019 there were 195 to 1,000 live births.

“Several factors influence abortion rates, including access to health services and contraception; the availability of abortion providers and clinics; government regulations such as B. Mandatory waiting periods, parental involvement laws, and legal restrictions on abortion providers and clinics; and changes in the economy and the resulting impact on family planning decisions and contraceptive use,” the report said.

“Considerable” range

The range between data points for different states was “considerable,” according to the report.

The abortion rate in Missouri was 0.1 abortions per 1,000 women, with 167 reported there in 2020, the lowest among reporting states. Compare that to Washington, DC, which had an abortion rate of 23 per 1,000 women, or 4,416 abortions in 2020, the highest reported.

A similar range occurred in abortion rates. Missouri reported two abortions per 1,000 live births in 2020, but Washington, DC reported 498.

The 2020 reporting year marked the beginning of the COVID pandemic, which the CDC says may have played a role in abortion statistics.

“Factors include temporary changes that have defined abortion as a nonessential service at the hospital, local, or court level, clinic closures, and changes in practice (e.g., switching from surgical abortions to medical abortions, adopting and adopting telemedicine). In addition, there may have been changes in pregnancy rates due to decreased sexual activity,” the report said.

The year 2020 is particularly significant for Florida, as this is the year the state legislature passed a parental consent abortion law that prohibits a minor from terminating a pregnancy unless a parent signs off on it. The law came into effect on July 1, 2020.

In 2022, Florida passed the 15-week abortion ban. As Republicans won supermajorities in the House and Senate in the recent election, some anti-abortion advocates are pushing for additional restrictions on the process.

–Danielle J. Brown, Florida Phoenix

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