Copyright 2023 by Shawn Jipp

All scriptures from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

First of all, I am not pro-abortion but I am pro-choice. I have never yet met someone that is pro-abortion, never.

Abortion should be a last choice to prevent a pregnancy from continuing. I believe in family planning and birth control, but mistakes happen. Contraception techniques all have a failure rate and yes, there are even medical conditions that urgently require the woman to have an abortion. I would counsel a woman to seek support from her sexual partner, her family and from her friends. Then after a deep breath and discussion with her support group, and looking at the situation objectively with as little emotion as possible, and looking at all the ramifications short and long term, does she feel she can bring a child into the world at that time in her life? Ultimately, the woman must decide as the fetus is now attached to her body and is taking components from her body to grow.

We will look at verses that anyone can find in their Bible to show modern American pro-life Christians what the God of the Old Testament instructed His followers to violently do to fetuses, babies, infants and animals.  And yet, these same Christians would condemn a woman who already has kids and is living in poverty for taking a drug to cause a miscarriage soon after she finds herself pregnant from birth control failure since she cannot afford another child! This particular situation is actually quite common (see the abortion data at end of this treatise).

Christians have no words from Jesus on abortion and no scriptures condemning abortion. As a matter of fact, there are verses that show the unborn fetus is not equivalent to a born person. We will look at these verses when we go through the Old Testament books.

We will also look at contraception which is closely tied to abortion.  Most Christians do not know that the Christian church has always been against contraception (even more so than abortion) until the Anglican Lambreth conference of 1930. Modern Protestants, especially in the United States, quickly adopted this thought into their theology. Evangelicals/Pentecostals inherited this acceptance without much thought since their main concern was not church history but in converting others to have the same beliefs as themselves. Only the Catholic Church continues to be dogmatic and unchanging on this belief.

An Evangelical friend started quoting me Catholic opinions and teaching on abortion. I thought to myself, hmmm, he does not accept the teaching authority of the Catholic Church yet doesn’t mind quoting from them to make his case more urgent or important! About a week later he told me that Catholics are not Christian! LOL

Abortion in Roman and Greek Empires


Abortion in the Middle Ages


Abortion Today


Definitions Specific To This Topic

First, we need to look at some basic definitions pertinent to this topic. Please go to the DEFINITIONS chapter and look up topics such as BABY, CONCEPTION, EMBRYO, FETUS, INFANT, etc.

Now let’s look at one of the other Abrahamic traditions, Judaism, and how it views this topic. Most American followers of Judaism do NOT believe abortion=murder. Here are some excellent articles on the subject:

From: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/07/24/abortion-laws-jewish-faith-teaches-life-does-not-start-conception/1808776001/

“The strongest argument in the Hebrew Bible for permitting abortion comes from Exodus, Chapter 21, Verse 22-23: “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take a life for a life.” 

In this passage, “gives birth prematurely” could mean the woman miscarries, and the fetus dies. Because there’s no expectation that the person who caused the miscarriage is liable for murder, Jewish scholars argue this proves a fetus is not considered a separate person or soul.

The Talmud, a two-part Jewish text comprised of centuries worth of thought, debate and discussion, is also helpful when discussing abortion. The Talmud explains that for the first 40 days of a woman’s pregnancy, the fetus is considered “mere fluid” and considered part of the mother until birth. The baby is considered a nefesh – Hebrew for “soul” or “spirit” – once its head has emerged, and not before.”


“Jewish tradition teaches that a nefesh, or a full-status life, begins at birth. Other religious traditions believe life begins at other stages. Restrictive abortion laws — rooted in only some religions’ interpretation of when life begins — impose religious beliefs on me. This is a violation of my rights.

The Jewish belief that life begins at birth opens the door to reproductive rights. Jewish tradition regards abortion as essential health care, not only permitting the termination of pregnancy but even prescribing it when the health of the pregnant person is in danger. But this is our belief: I would not coerce anyone from any religion to adopt this Jewish approach. I believe that a pregnant person has the right to not choose abortion for themselves, just as I oppose those who would deny them that choice.”

From: https://rac.org/blog/abortion-and-reproductive-justice-jewish-perspective

“A study by the Pew Research Center found that 83 percent of American Jews say that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.1 American Jews’ widespread support for permissive abortion laws finds grounding in Jewish tradition’s approach to pregnancy and its end. Though the Torah makes no specific reference to any process resembling a modern abortion, the following passage from Parashat Mishpatim provides our tradition’s earliest guidance on the termination of a pregnancy:

When individuals fight, and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage ensues, the one responsible shall be fined according as the woman’s husband may exact, the payment to be based on reckoning. But if other damage ensues, the penalty shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. (Exodus 21:22–25)

The passage contrasts two scenarios in which two men are fighting and accidentally strike a nearby pregnant woman. The permutations differ only in who or what is harmed. In the first, only the fetus is lost, and the punishment is a monetary fine, paid to the woman’s husband. In the second, the woman herself is harmed or killed. There, the punishment is retributive: an eye for an eye and a nefesh—literally, “soul,” but in this case meaning a human life possessing person-hood—for a nefesh. From this, we may derive the principle that a woman has the full status of a person, while the fetus—though valued—has a lesser status.”

In fact in a Pew Research study in 2014 this is how various religions in the USA believed about keeping abortion legal:
We see also that one’s political party in America greatly influences one’s opinion on keeping abortion legal and safe. Here is another Pew Study from 2018:

This is good background information on abortion:


Here are some important highlights from this site:

“Since the Food and Drug Administration first approved abortion pills in 2000, their use has increased over time as a share of abortions nationally. Guttmacher’s preliminary data from a forthcoming study says that 2020 was the first time that more than half of all abortions in clinical settings in the U.S. were medication abortions.”

So most abortions are NOT performed by an abortionist but by the pregnant woman herself taking drugs. The last data from 2020 was 55% of all abortions. It is surely higher by now.

“Medication abortion is approved for use until 10 weeks into pregnancy.”

After that time, a surgical abortion would have to be obtained if the woman wishes to terminate her pregnancy.

“In the District of Columbia and 47 states that reported data to the CDC in 2019, the majority of women who had abortions (57%) were in their 20s, while about three-in-ten (31%) were in their 30s. Teens ages 13 to 19 accounted for 9% of those who had abortions, while women in their 40s accounted for 4%.

The vast majority of women who had abortions in 2019 were unmarried (85%), while married women accounted for 15%, according to the CDC, which had data on this from 41 states and New York City (but not the rest of New York).

In the District of Columbia and 29 states that reported racial and ethnic data on abortion to the CDC, 38% of all women who had abortions in 2019 were non-Hispanic Black, while 33% were non-Hispanic White, 21% were Hispanic, and 7% were of other races or ethnicities.

Among those ages 15 to 44, there were 23.8 abortions per 1,000 non-Hispanic Black women; 11.7 abortions per 1,000 Hispanic women; 6.6 abortions per 1,000 non-Hispanic White women; and 13 abortions per 1,000 women of other races or ethnicities in that age range, the CDC reported from those same 29 states and the District of Columbia.

For 58% of U.S. women who had induced abortions in 2019, it was the first time they had ever had one, according to the CDC. For nearly a quarter (24%), it was their second abortion. For 11% of women, it was their third, and for 8% it was their fourth or higher. These CDC figures include data from 43 states and New York City (but not the rest of New York).”

So based upon these demographics we see that most women seeking abortions are unmarried, in their 20’s, slightly more likely to be black than white, and this is likely to be the first time they have ever had an abortion.

“The vast majority of abortions – around nine-in-ten – occur during the first trimester of a pregnancy. In 2019, 93% of abortions occurred during the first trimester – that is, at or before 13 weeks of gestation, according to the CDC. An additional 6% occurred between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, and 1% were performed at 21 weeks or more of gestation. These CDC figures include data from 42 states and New York City (but not the rest of New York)”

So we know that most abortions happen in the first trimester before 13 weeks of pregnancy. Only 7% occurred after the first trimester. Note that many women do not even know they are pregnant until at least 6 weeks. Evangelicals often paint a picture of late term abortions by ungodly abortionists on women that use abortion often as a means of birth control. Not true! That view is simply anti-abortion marketing.

“…there were 0.4 deaths to women per 100,000 legal induced abortions.”

“FDA records show an extremely small mortality case number: As of June 2021, there were reports of 26 deaths associated with mifepristone out of 4.9 million people estimated to have taken the pill since the product was approved in September 2000.”  This actually even lower:  about 0.0005306%

So we see that a woman is more likely to die from Covid than from a legal medicine abortion!

Here is a graph showing deaths due to childbirth per year and per ethnic group. Note: Older women are at higher risk as seen in this graph:

Note: this graph includes all ages of women:

So we see that forcing a woman to have a childbirth does put her at higher risk than having a legal abortion. Is the overall risk to the woman large?  Not huge, but at least 34X greater than if she had an abortion.

Here is the History of Abortion Law in the United States:


Unintended Pregnancies and Abortion Rates Worldwide:


“…64 unintended pregnancies (UI 60–70) per 1000 women aged 15–49 years. 61% (58–63) of unintended pregnancies ended in abortion (totaling 73.3 million abortions annually [66.7–82.0]), corresponding to a global abortion rate of 39 abortions (36–44) per 1000 women aged 15–49 years.”

Now We Will Look at Old Testament Scriptures to See How Yahweh Treats the Unborn Fetus, Babies, Children, Adults and Animals:

Genesis 2

4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth[a] and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams[b] came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

[This is a simple and concise explanation for when person hood/life begins. Not during conception. Not during the ‘building process’ but when separated from mother and breathing air on its own.]

Exodus 21

17 “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.[How many devout and fundamentalist Jews or Christians follow this command?]

18 “If people quarrel and one person hits another with a stone or with their fist[d] and the victim does not die but is confined to bed, 19 the one who struck the blow will not be held liable if the other can get up and walk around outside with a staff; however, the guilty party must pay the injured person for any loss of time and see that the victim is completely healed.

20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

[This shows that one could do many things to slaves and sets examples for future generations and future societies. Humans here have been reduced to property status!]

22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely[e] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

[This clearly shows that in ancient Israel the harmed and miscarried fetus is not considered the equivalent as an already born and breathing human.]

Numbers 5

11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him 13 so that another man has sexual relations with her, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), 14 and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure— 15 then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah[c] of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.

16 “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse[d] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

[Here we see that in ancient Israel the Lord Himself becomes the abortionist through the Hebrew priest using chemicals/drugs to induce miscarriage due to the women succumbing to her lust, or perhaps in some situations might it have been a lustful nearby male/family member which forcibly raped her and in some instances she did not wish to incriminate him and hoped to have a miscarriage?]

“‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”

[Um, as a woman in that society, what else could she do or say?!]

23 “‘The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water. 24 He shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering will enter her. 25 The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the Lord and bring it to the altar. 26 The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial[e] offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water. 27 If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. 28 If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

[Does this mean that if she is guilty and miscarriage occurs then in addition she will not be able to have any future children? Would that then hurt the marriage/relation dynamic with her husband? Would that set her up to be divorced in the future? How would that affect her social standing and ability to provide for herself? Would she then be at the mercy of some compassionate male family member(s) or in some cases would it set her up to either die from starvation or else become a prostitute?]

29 “‘This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and makes herself impure while married to her husband, 30 or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the Lord and is to apply this entire law to her. 31 The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.’”

[What if the husband somehow pushed her into this or stopped having sexual relations with her altogether for years before she went ‘astray’?]

Deuteronomy 28

15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:

16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.

17 Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.

18 The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

[More miscarriage sent from God! But apparently the animals get to give birth *BUT* then are cursed for the sins of the homo sapiens. Animal cruelty?]

19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.

20 The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.[a] 21 The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. 22 The Lord will strike you with wasting disease [Cancer?], with fever and inflammation [Viral and bacterial infections?], with scorching heat and drought [Like a much worse version of global warming], with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish [i.e. You will suffer and then die!]. 23 The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. 24 The Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed. [Warning: Do NOT look up!]

Judges 11

29Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jephthah. He crossed Gilead and Manasseh, passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from there he advanced against the Ammonites.

30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD: “If you give the Ammonites into my hands,

31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”

32 Then Jephthah went over to fight the Ammonites, and the LORD gave them into his hands.

33 He devastated twenty towns from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, as far as Abel Keramim. Thus Israel subdued Ammon.

34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of timbrels! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter.

35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, “Oh no, my daughter! You have brought me down and I am devastated. I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break.”

36 “My father,” she replied, “you have given your word to the LORD. Do to me just as you promised, now that the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the Ammonites.

37 But grant me this one request,” she said. “Give me two months to roam the hills and weep with my friends, because I will never marry.”

38 “You may go,” he said. And he let her go for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never marry.

39 After the two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin. From this comes the Israelite tradition

[What did he do to his daughter? Did he burn her alive?!]

40 that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

1 Samuel 15

1 Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. 2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

[King Saul then attacks and kills everyone but saved the King of the Amalekites and his best flocks for his soldiers upon their strong requests and got in trouble with God for doing so, and God removed Saul as king for not annihilating them completely.  Then the prophet of God, Samuel, personally stabs and kills the king of the Amalakites who had thought he had gotten off pretty well compared to everyone else in his entire race. One wonders if all of the Amalekite soldiers were evil and hated Yahweh and the tribe of Israel and enjoyed stabbing pregnant Israelite women, etc, but even if they all did, why were their wives and animals put to death? Might some of their wives have not been so evil? Or their livestock!?  When one thinks about this event one must conclude it is an ancient example of annihilation of an entire race. It was not the first or last time it would be performed by homo sapiens in history. Of course Christians will have no problems with any of this because Deuteronomy 32:4 says “He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.“  Could it be the writers of the OT and self proclaimed Yahweh nationalistic patriotic zealots might not have been inspired in all they wrote many years afterwards and after reflecting upon their recent history? Could a God that created the heavens that consist of billions of wondrous galaxies, stars and planets and even time and space itself, have really been so concerned with a particular race of Middle East homo sapiens on this planet earth? Was mankind invented in the image of God, or could man have painted God in the less than perfect image of man?]

Psalms 137

8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us.

9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

[God fearing Hebrews encouraged to be happy by fulfilling this desire to punish the Babylonians by killing their infants in a gruesome fashion? Hmmm]

Hosea 9

10 “When I found Israel,

When I found Israel,

 it was like finding grapes in the desert;

when I saw your ancestors,

it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.

But when they came to Baal Peor,

they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol

and became as vile as the thing they loved.

11 Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird—no birth, no pregnancy, no conception.

[It appears the ancients understood the process quite well: Conception where sperm fertilizes egg, Pregnancy which is the building process ~9 months within the womb, and Birth where the fetus separates from the woman’s body (important note) and breathes on its own.]

12 Even if they rear children,

    I will bereave them of every one.

[IF the baby was born, it will still be punished for the parents’ sin.]

Woe to them

when I turn away from them!

13 I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre,

planted in a pleasant place.

But Ephraim will bring out

their children to the slayer.”

14 Give them, Lord—

what will you give them?

Give them wombs that miscarry

and breasts that are dry.

[More God induced spontaneous miscarriages due to parents’ sin.]

15 “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal,

I hated them there.

Because of their sinful deeds,

I will drive them out of my house.

I will no longer love them;

all their leaders are rebellious.

16 Ephraim is blighted,

their root is withered,

they yield no fruit.

Even if they bear children,

I will slay their cherished offspring.”

[So some babies do manage to be born but God will kill these babies/infants/toddlers so they will not grow up]

Hosea 13

16 The people of Samaria must bear their guilt,

because they have rebelled against their God.

They will fall by the sword;

their little ones will be dashed to the ground,

their pregnant women ripped open.”[b]

[A prophecy of what will happen due to God’s will]


No mention of abortion or abortions! Nada! Jesus never mentioned it.  Apparently abortion or pro-fetus was not high on his ‘need to correct society’ list. He also did not mention contraception. He also did not mention homosexuality. He also did not command races to be annihilated. He also did not raise an army. 

Luke 1

39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

[This verse was meant to show that John the Baptist comes before the Lord but submits to His authority as does Elizabeth. This is done in a miraculous context.  It is not meant to prove that  the fetus was fully developed, fully intelligent and just waiting for Mary to enter the room so it could leap in the womb. If you do interpret this verse in such a literal manner then you will need to conclude that Numbers 22:21-33 proves that donkeys are all intelligent and can speak ancient Hebrew, Luke 19:38-40 proves that stones are just waiting for the chance to worship the Lord by crying out, and Mark 16:18 is a true test of true Christians that are truly right in the Lord’s sight by handling snakes and drinking poisons then laying hands on the sick and healing them all. And let us not forget, where did the wives come from for Cain and Abel? What is the verse or verses in the OT that say that he would be called a Nazarene? Where are the dinosaurs in the Bible? Did two penguins walk from the north pole to the middle east to get on the ark? It has positively been proven that the earth is ~ 4.5 billion years old yet a literal reading of the Bible indicates only about 6,000 years? So what do we conclude? That the Bible is not meant to always be taken literally. That the Bible is not meant to be a science book. That God expects us to not just listen to others’ interpretations but to use our minds that homo sapiens are blessed with.]

MEDICAL (using drugs) ABORTION

Most abortions are now non surgical!


A medical abortion, also known as medication abortion, occurs when medically-prescribed drugs (medication) are used to bring about an abortion. Medical abortions are an alternative to surgical abortions such as vacuum aspiration or dilation and curettage.[5] Medical abortions are more common than surgical abortions in most places, including Europe, India, China, and the United States.[6][7]

Medical abortions are typically performed by administering a two-drug combination, mifepristone followed by misoprostol, but other combinations are also available. When mifepristone is not available, misoprostol alone may be used.[8]

Medical abortion is both safe and effective throughout a range of gestational ages, including the second and third trimester.[9] Medical abortion can be administered safely by the patient, without assistance, at home in the first trimester;[10] starting with the second trimester, it is recommended to take the second drug in a clinic or provider’s office.[10]

Medical abortion should not be confused with emergency contraception, which typically involves drugs (such as such as Levonorgestrel or “Plan B”) taken soon after intercourse to prevent a pregnancy from beginning.

Religious Opinions on Abortion





Evangelical & Catholic










77 Shocking Abortion Statistics in 2022

May 3, 2022 by Sarah Walker


Abortion is a hotly debated topic in the US. The 1973 Supreme Court judgment has as many detractors as supporters. Here are some abortion statistics that will open your eyes to the reality of the issue.

Abortion continues to remain a thorny issue in the medical profession with political and religious ramifications. On the one hand there are advocates of women’s right to choose and on the other, we have those who advocate for the rights of the unborn fetus.

But what are the real abortion numbers in the US? And what do they mean? Over the years, the total number of abortions and the rate of abortions per 100 pregnancies, both, have come down significantly. The primary reasons for these changes have been better and more readily available contraceptive methods and changes in the demographics and backgrounds of the women choosing abortion over the years. Political issues related to abortion in the US have also affected women’s reproductive and health rights. Let us dive right into the statistics.

Illegal Abortion Statistics Before 1973

Before 1973, abortion was strictly restricted in America by law. Which also meant that there was a thriving back-alley abortion industry.

Americans may not remember today that illegal abortions were very common before 1973. In a landmark judgment in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, the supreme court recognized a woman’s right to abort her fetus.

The court also balanced the absolute right of the woman to choose an abortion against the state’s ability to refuse that right at around the end of the second trimester, when the fetus became capable of existing on its own.

Here are some illegal abortion statistics before 1973.

It is estimated that up to 1.2 million illegal abortions every year in the US in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1955, almost 700,000 illegal abortions were performed in America. In 1967, almost 830,000 illegal abortion procedures were performed.[2]

Illegal abortions were a leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths. In 1965, there were 200 cases of deaths due to illegal abortions reported in the US. That contributes a shocking 17% to the total of around 1200 pregnancy-related deaths that year. Please note that this is the reported number. The real figure is likely much higher.

Because some states allowed for abortions under certain circumstances, affluent women were able to access safer, medically sound termination of pregnancy. It was reported that between 1951 and 1962, 88% of legal abortions that were performed in New York City were performed by private physicians. This also meant that those who could not access private practice had no recourse in the public health care system.

After 1973, when the Supreme court ruled in the favor of women’s right to abort the fetus, illegal abortions almost disappeared overnight. In the period between 1972 to 1974, the number of illegal abortions in the US plunged from 130,000 to a mere 17,000.

The total number of deaths due to abortions declined from 39 to 5 in the same period.

The most common age group where deaths happened due to pregnancy was 20 to 24 years of age followed by 25 to 29.

More than two out of three (68%) pregnancy-related deaths in 1972 and 1973 were attributed to black or other ethnicities and less than one in three (32%) were white.

Age Distribution of Pregnancy-Related Deaths in 1972 and 1973

Age Distribution of Pregnancy-Related Deaths in 1972 and 1973

Ethnic Distribution of Pregnancy-Related Deaths in 1972 and 1973

Ethnic Distribution of Pregnancy-Related Deaths in 1972 and 1973

Source – National Library of Medicine

Abortion Because of Rape Statistics

Almost 3 million women in the US have experienced rape-related pregnancies in their lifetimes.

As a percentage of population, the incidence of rape-related pregnancies is highest among black women, followed by Hispanic women. It is the least among white women.

Rape-related pregnancies as a percentage of population

Rape-related pregnancies as a percentage of population

Five percent of women of reproductive age (12 to 45 years) experience rape-related pregnancy.

More than 32,000 adult women get pregnant from rape each year.

Only 11.7% of the victims received immediate medical attention. Almost half the victims (47.1%) received no rape-related medical attention.

More than three in four women (77.3%) who related a rape-related pregnancy, identified the perpetrator to be a current or former intimate partner. Another 14% reported it to be an acquaintance.

Perpetrators identified by victims of rape-related pregnancy

30% of women who were raped by their intimate partner encountered reproductive coercion.[4]

Around 32.3% of women wanted to give birth, while 50% wanted to abort due to rape-related pregnancy.[5]

Source – American Journal of Preventive Medicine, National Library of Medicine

Abortion Statistics - All You Need to Know

Late-Term Abortion Statistics

Late-term abortion is not a medical term, but rather a political one. Abortions after the 20th week (latter part of the second trimester) of pregnancy are considered late-term.

Around 92% of abortions occur in the 13-week gestation period (first trimester), while only 7% occur from the 14 to 20-week gestation period[6].

Distribution of abortions by term of pregnancy (in weeks)

Distribution of abortions by term of pregnancy (in weeks)

Abortion after 21 weeks is rare. Around 1% of abortions happen after 21 weeks of gestation in the US.

In 2019, 36,000 abortions in the second trimester were recorded in the US.

Source – CDC

Reasons For Late-Term Abortion

Late-term abortion is more common in younger women. While women between 15 and 24 contribute to 41% of abortions in the first trimester, this percentage goes up to 58% for abortions after the first trimester.

Age distribution of women seeking abortion in the first trimester vs later

Age distribution of women seeking abortion in the first trimester vs later

The percentage of women seeking abortion in the second trimester has remained stable in the US, hovering between eight and nine percent throughout the last decade.

Percentage of women getting an abortion after the first trimester over the years

According to the Federal Reserve, 40% of Americans can not come up with a $400 emergency fund. Most do not have enough savings to pay for abortion expenses. Abortion in the first trimester can cost around $500 and in the second trimester can cost $1200 or more. Saving up to pay for the abortion is likely another reason for delayed and late-term abortions.

Women having an abortion after the first trimester are more likely to not have any insurance (28%) as compared to women having an abortion in the first trimester (23%).

Women getting an abortion after the first trimester are more likely to not have insurance

One big reason for late-term abortion is the late discovery of pregnancy. Women who come to know of their pregnancy after eight weeks of gestation form a significantly higher proportion of the women getting an abortion after 13 weeks or the first trimester. It does take time to make a decision as big as this.

Percentage of abortions by gestation at the time of discovery of pregnancy

Another reason for late-term abortions is access to the right medical facilities. Women who had an abortion after their first trimester are much more likely to have traveled more than three hours for the abortion, as compared to women getting an abortion in the first trimester (21% versus 5 %). Although this can also be a result of women seeking more privacy when getting an abortion.

Travel time to get an abortion – first trimester versus later

Women getting an abortion after the first trimester are more likely to be unemployed as compared to women getting an abortion in the first trimester (50% unemployed after the first trimester vs 34% unemployed in the first trimester).

Employment status of women getting an abortion in the first trimester vs later

Women getting an abortion after the first trimester are more likely to never have married as compared to women who get an abortion in the first trimester.

Distribution of marital status of women getting an abortion

Distribution of marital status of women getting an abortion

Source – National Library of Medicine

Abortion to Save Mother’s Life Statistics

Sometimes an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother. One of the most common causes of maternal death due to pregnancy is ectopic pregnancy.

An ectopic pregnancy is one where the fetus attaches itself and grows outside the uterus. Such a pregnancy is unviable and needs to be terminated either medically or surgically.

2 percent of pregnancies in the US are ectopic.

The leading causes of ectopic pregnancy include age (over 35 years of age), smoking, and having more than one sexual partner.

If you have had an ectopic pregnancy before, you have a 15 percent chance (up from two percent) of having a second ectopic pregnancy.

Having said that, one in three women (33%) who have had an ectopic pregnancy go on to have a healthy subsequent pregnancy.

Source – March of Dimes

Abortion Statistics - All You Need to Know

Abortion vs. Miscarriage Statistics

Medically speaking, miscarriage is nothing but a spontaneous and unintended abortion. Here are some miscarriage statistics for you to consider:

Around 10% to 20% of pregnancies result in miscarriage during the first 13-week gestation period. 

31% to 50% of women do not even know they are pregnant and miscarry.

Miscarriage is not so common after the first trimester. Just 1% of pregnancies result in miscarriage in 13 to 20 weeks.

The probability of a miscarriage increases significantly with age. One in six pregnancies between the ages 40 and 44 and more than one in four pregnancies over the age of 45 result in a miscarriage.

Percentage of pregnancies ending as a miscarriage increases significantly with age

The percentage of pregnancies ending as a miscarriage increases significantly with age

Source – National Library of Medicine

Sex-Selective Abortion Rate

In some countries and cultures, there is a strong preference for the male child.

It is a known fact that the human race has preferred sons over daughters for a long time. In fact, this preference for sons over daughters has led to some rather concerning health and social indicators like reduced height, weight and lack of education and career opportunities for girls and women, especially in the developing part of the world.

It is surprising that there is a clear preference for the male child even in the US, right from the times of World War II.

There is a clear preference for a male child over a female, over time, even in the US

Source – Science Direct, Gallup

Abortion vs. Live Birth Statistics

The abortion ratio is defined as the number of abortions per 1000 live births. The abortion ratio has gradually decreased in recent years. 

The number of abortions per 1000 live births has seen a declining trend. This ratio used to be 225 abortions per 1000 live births in 2010 and it has come down to 195 in 2019.

Number of abortions to 1000 live births

The states reporting the highest ratio of abortions to 1000 live births were New York (355), Illinois (332), Florida (327), Georgia (292) and Connecticut (269).

The states reporting the lowest ratio of abortions to 1000 live births were Wyoming (5), Missouri (20), South Dakota (36), Utah (62) and West Virginia (65).

The abortion ratio (abortions per 1000 live births) is almost nine times higher among unmarried women (394) as compared to married women (46).

The abortion ratio decreases rapidly with age till about the age of 30 to 34 years. After that, it increases slightly. This can be explained by the fact that the incidence of unintended pregnancies decreases with age. And after the age of 35, the incidence of unviable pregnancies increases.

Abortion ratio decreases with age till the age of 30-34

The abortion ratio decreases with age till the age of 30-34

The abortion ratio among blacks remains the highest among all ethnicities. The abortion ratio (number of abortions per 1000 live births) among blacks is more than three times as compared to that among whites.

The abortion ratio among blacks remains the highest among all tracked ethnicities

The abortion ratio among blacks remains the highest among all tracked ethnicities

Source – CDC

Abortion Complications Statistics

Abortion complications among women can originate from controllable factors like sanitary and hygienic conditions for an abortion to uncontrollable factors like the gestational age of the fetus or the expectant mother’s past medical history.

Every year, 70,000 women die globally because of unsafe abortions.

In the US, 1.3% of the abortions carried out in the first trimester result in a medical complication.

This rate rises to 1.5% for abortions carried out in the second trimester or later.

The mortality rate due to induced abortion was 0.6 deaths per 100,000 abortions.

Source – WHO, National Library of Medicine

Abortion Statistics - All You Need to Know

Coerced Abortion Statistics

Coerced or forced abortions can lead to violence and even death among pregnant women.

Almost two out of three women (64%) felt some form of pressure to abort their pregnancy.

Four out of five women (79%) seeking an abortion were not clearly told about available resources.

65% of women reported experiencing trauma after an abortion.

Source – Heartbeat International

Self-Induced Abortion Statistics

Many women who can not afford an abortion or do not have access to one end up trying one of many (often very dangerous) ways to end the unwanted pregnancy. Often these women limited financial means and hence very limited options.

17 million unsafe abortions happen annually across the world.

The most common methods of unsafe abortions are the use of misoprostol without medical advice.

97% of unsafe abortions, including self-induced abortions occur in developing countries.

In the US, three out of four women (75%) who wanted to abort were low-income (annual income below 31,460 dollars for two people)[13].

7% of women in the US accepted using some form of self-induced abortion in their lifetime.

Black and Hispanic women are three times more likely to attempt a self-induced abortion as compared to white women.

Self-induced abortion also has a direct correlation with the financial means of the woman concerned. Those living below the federal poverty line are three times more likely to attempt a self-induced abortion as compared to women with an annual income at least two times the federal poverty line (annual income of $36,620). Note – for 2022, the federal poverty line was $18,310 for a family of two, annually.

The most commonly used medication for self-induced abortion is Misoprostol, with one in five women who attempted any form of self-induced abortion reporting using it. Shockingly, an equal number of women used some form of physical method. Many used more than one method.

Different methods used for self-induced abortion

Different methods used for self-induced abortion

Almost half the women use a self-induced abortion because it seems faster and easier. One in four use it because of financial reasons.

Cited reasons for seeking a self-induced abortion

Cited reasons for seeking a self-induced abortion

After the self-induced abortion, more than one in three women had to seek a further clinic-based procedure. 27% reported that they were successful. 11% had a miscarriage.

Result of self-induced abortion

Result of self-induced abortion

11% of attempted self-induced abortions resulted in complications.

Source – Guttmacher Institute JAMA Network

Abortion Statistics – Final Words

The rate of abortion has significantly changed over the last decade. Every one out of six women who are already mothers chooses to abort, and around half of the women abort in the first six weeks of pregnancy. The reason for abortion is that they are poor, unmarried, or need to study more. 

The woman’s right to abort vs the right of the fetus to live has been a hotly debated topic in America. The stats clearly show that giving women the right to choose not only reduces mortality, it actually brings down the incidence of abortion itself.

We thank you for reading this article. We hope that these statistics will help you come to the right conclusions regarding abortion, the right to abortion, and the reasons behind abortion in the US.

Something to Consider

From Ross Cohen answering the question “At what point in the pregnancy is a baby considered “alive”?”on Quora 5/23/22:

“At no point, because it’s not a baby during pregnancy.

Change the word to fetus and it’s a different question, because it is a fetus during pregnancy. The fetus is immediately alive, though sometimes not for long, and some bans make no allowance for its removal in either case. They simply ban the procedure regardless of whether it’s dead or alive.

A fetus is immediately alive because it’s made of living cells. Even when it’s in the fallopian tube and has zero chance of surviving, it’s alive.

Even before it’s a fetus, when it’s an embryo, it’s alive.

When it’s a zygote, it’s alive.

The sperm and unfertilized egg are alive as well.

As is the appendix.

As is a tumor.

Whether these things are alive bears no relevance on whether they should be removed. That’s a decision for a doctor and the person they’re living in, feeding off, and in some cases, killing.

It’s only a fetus that some argue can’t be removed at the discretion of a medical doctor and the person whose body it’s feeding off, but it’s not because it’s alive—all of the above are alive.

And it’s not because it’s human—all of the above are human.

And it’s not because it’s a baby—none of the above are babies.

Yes, it may one day become a baby, and some of the others above may also one day become babies, but none are yet, and won’t be without a great deal of time, investment, hardship, and risk.

Aside from literally being part of a person’s own body, which really ought to be enough, those things make the living things above quite reasonable options for removal from said body at the body owner’s discretion. Being “alive” isn’t the mic drop factor abortion ban advocates think it is (and again, many bans don’t even factor in whether it’s still alive or not).

It’s alive, lots of things are, but it’s not a baby.

Asking this question is an attempt to frame the debate in a way that justifies banning abortion earlier and earlier, perhaps entirely, but “alive” is a red herring and was never the question. It was alive before it was even considered a fetus, but it’s not a meaningful distinction. This is why viability outside the womb has been a standard, not whether it’s “alive.”

There’s a thought experiment that may be instructive, perhaps you’ve heard it before:

If there were a fertility clinic on fire, and down one hallway you can save ten frozen embryos, and down the other you can save an actual crying baby, but there’s only time for one, which would you choose?

I think most would say the actual baby, and not the frozen embryos that might one day become babies, because they understand that embryos are not babies, no matter what might be said informally or to evoke an emotional response.

And if you say you would let a child die to save a bunch of popsicles, well that certainly does say something.”


[1] https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/pubs/psrh/full/3711005.pdf

[2] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lessons-from-before-abortion-was-legal/

[3] https://www.guttmacher.org/perspectives50/abortion-and-after-legalization.

[4] https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/understanding-RRP-inUS.html

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8765248/

[6] https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/fact-sheet/abortions-later-in-pregnancy/

[7] https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-bulletin/articles/2013/06/second-trimester-abortion

[8] https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/issue-brief/understanding-pregnancy-loss-in-the-context-of-abortion-restrictions-and-fetal-harm-laws/.

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex-selective_abortion#United_States

[10] https://www.statista.com/statistics/185286/legal-abortions-per-100-live-births-in-the-us-since-2000/

[10] https://www.statista.com/statistics/185286/legal-abortions-per-100-live-births-in-the-us-since-2000/

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430793/#:~:text=%5B8%5D%5B9%5D%20The,0.6%20deaths%20per%20100%2C000%20abortions.

[12] https://www.heartbeatinternational.org/forced-abortions-in-america

[13] https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-united-states

[14] Understanding why women seek abortions in the US | BMC Women’s Health | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)