2019 Ohio Abortion Statistics Released
If you have not heard, Ohio’s abortion statistics report was issued today. Each fall, Ohio’s Department of Health issues abortion statistics for the year prior. The statistics look at various demographic information like where the abortion was performed and where the mother who had the abortion resides. It tracks the methods of abortion –distinguishing between surgical and non-surgical abortions, and it also breaks down types of procedures within the larger subset. It looks at things like the mother’s race and ethnicity, her number of reported prior abortions or live births, her education, her age, and her marital status. You can review a copy of the 2019 Ohio Abortion Statistics online here (warning – it is a larger pdf file). Abortion figures are available to the detail of zip code.
Ohio Abortion numbers
In 2018, Ohio abortions dropped by 468 procedures statewide, from 20,893 abortions in 2017 to 20,425 in 2018. Last year, Ohio abortions dropped by 323 procedures statewide from 20,425 to 20,102. This means that last year, just over 55 babies died each day from abortion in Ohio. Statewide, about 39% of all abortions were conducted non-surgically, most by the abortion pill. Once again, most abortions were performed in an ambulatory surgical facility (18,707), while 1,356 were performed in a non-surgical clinic, and 39 were performed in a hospital. Statewide, the largest number of abortions were performed on women ages 25-29, and once again African American women were disproportionately likely to have an abortion. Among Ohioans who reported their race, white women made up 46.1% of all abortions, black women made up 45.9%, and American Indian, Pacific Islander, and multi-racial made up .3%, 3.6%, and 4.1%. Eighty-two percent of women having an abortion report being not married (single, separated, divorced, or widowed). About 10.5% were married, and 7% did not report their marital status. Ninety-five abortions were reported as being performed after 21 weeks of gestation. Approximately 6% reported Hispanic ethnicity.
Local abortion numbers
Ohio measures abortion statistics in two ways. One is by the total number performed in the county and one is by the number of abortions performed on women living in a county. In Ohio, known abortion clinics exist in only a few counties: Franklin (2), Cuyahoga (2), Lucas (1), Summit (1), Montgomery (1), and Hamilton (1). Each year, a few abortions are generally reported outside of those settings. We generally presume that those occur in a hospital setting, but we cannot know for sure. As pro-life people, our goal is not only to see the total number of abortions decline, but also the number of abortions occurring in our community and the number performed on women living in our communities. In last year’s statistics, we had about six months with two abortion clinics that performed surgical and medication abortions, about a month where only one clinic was open that performed surgical and medication abortions, about two and a half months when one dual and one medication-only clinic was open, and about two and a half months when one dual and two medication only clinics were open. In 2019, the statistics reflect having all three clinics open: one offering both types of abortions and two offering medication only. Thus, while it is a disappointment, it is not a surprise that abortions slightly increased in central Ohio. In addition, we tend to see fairly cyclical process of large drops over a few years and then a small increase. There are two ways to end abortion: the demand side and the supply side, and we need to work on both.
In 2018, there were 3706 abortions that were performed in central Ohio, or about 10 each day. Last year, there were 3933 abortions performed in central Ohio. That means 76 each week and just under 11 each day. That is an increase of 227 from the year before, but still a decrease of nearly 30% over the past ten years. Last year, nearly 70% of the abortions performed in Central Ohio were non-surgical, and almost all of them were performed by the abortion pill. Given that two additional pill-only clinics were available last year, this is not surprising, but it is concerning. Just four years ago, medication abortion was less than 5% of all abortions happening in our community. It also indicates that we have a great need to increase awareness and advocacy of the abortion pill reversal program. GCRTL Sidewalk Counselors are working to make sure that every woman who enters an abortion clinic has an opportunity to learn about abortion pill reversal. This continues to be highly critical work.
Looking at the counties that make up the GCRTL area, we saw two counties (Fairfield and Union) with decreases and six with increases (Delaware, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Morrow, and Pickaway). However, we always remind our communities that this is just a snapshot of one statistic, and it does not reflect the whole picture of what we see in the community. Many areas of central Ohio are growing at a rapid pace, and year-to-year numbers can fluctuate quite significantly. Part of the reason that we look at these numbers is to know where to suggest programs and projects. In the next few months, we will be updating our abortion rate project which looks at abortion compared to population and live births. That said, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.
As always, we drew our figures from statistics provided by the Ohio Department of Health and note that these figures only include induced abortions reported to the Ohio Department of Health. From time to time, we or they may need to update our numbers because of data entry or other problems. There may be some duplication caused by failed medical abortions that were later performed as surgical. The numbers also include attempted abortions that failed and resulted in a live birth through abortion pill failure or abortion pill reversal. The figures do not include any abortions that were not reported to the Ohio Department of Health, either because they doctor failed to report or because the pills were obtained illegally. These statistics may also include a small number of pregnancies that were lost in a procedure taken to preserve a mother’s life, even if abortion was not the intended or wanted result. Finally, we often get some questions regarding how contraceptives or the morning after pill are counted in this report. While many forms of contraception and the morning after pill contain a mechanism that could prevent a fertilized egg from establishing in the uterine lining, the Ohio Abortion statistics only include those established pregnancies which are knowingly terminated.