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Abortion Incidence and Services in the United States, 1995-1996

Stanley K. Henshaw
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 30, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1998), pp. 263-270+287
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2991501
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2991501
Page Count: 9
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Abortion Incidence and Services in the United States, 1995-1996
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Abstract

Context: In the 1980s, the number of abortion providers in the United States began to decline, and more recently, so has the number of abortions performed. Whether the decline in service providers, which was last documented in 1992, is continuing and whether this influences the availability and number of abortions is of public interest. Methods: In 1997, the Alan Guttmacher Institute conducted its 12th survey of all known abortion providers in the United States. The number and location of abortion providers and abortions were tabulated for 1995 and 1996, and trends were calculated by comparing these data with those from earlier surveys. Limited data were also gathered on types of abortion procedures. Results: Between 1992 and 1996, the number of abortions fell from 1,529,000 to 1,366,000, and the abortion rate decreased from 26 to 23 per 1,000 women aged 15-44. The number of providers fell 14%, to 2,042, with the greatest decline among hospitals and physicians' offices rather than clinics. Eighty-six percent of counties had no known abortion provider, and 32% of women aged 15-44 lived in these counties. Of the country's 320 metropolitan areas, 89 had no known abortion provider, and for an additional 12, fewer than 50 abortions each were reported. Seventy percent of abortions were performed in specialized clinics and only 7% in hospitals. In the first half of 1997, early medical abortions were being offered in about 160 facilities, virtually all of which were also providers of surgical abortions. Conclusions: While abortion services in some areas of the country have declined since 1992 and many women continue to have limited access to providers, other factors have probably had more influence on the level of abortions performed. Early medical abortion methods are too new to be a measurable factor in abortion access.

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