May 10, 2022 - News

Pennsylvania's abortion rate is higher than national average

Data: Guttmacher Institute; Map: Thomas Oide and Erin Davis/Axios
Data: Guttmacher Institute; Map: Thomas Oide and Erin Davis/Axios

Pennsylvania's abortion rate is slightly higher than the national average, which has been on the decline for years.

State of play: Pennsylvania — which permits abortions up to about 24 weeks of pregnancy — has seen small dips in its rate over the last several years, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

  • The state's abortion rate is highest among women in their 20s, which mirrors national trends.
  • Nearly half of all abortions in the state in 2020 involved white patients (14,813), with Black patients accounting for 14,177 and Hispanic patients 3,479.
  • Roughly 85% of Pennsylvania counties don't have health clinics that perform abortions, as of 2017, per the Guttmacher Institute.

The big picture: Around 18% of all pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion, according to the CDC.

  • More than three-quarters of abortions in 2019 were performed by nine weeks of a pregnancy, with higher rates among Black and Hispanic women than white women, Axios' Caitlin Owens writes.

Between the lines: Factors impacting the abortion rate include access to health care services and contraception, the availability of abortion providers and state regulations, according to the CDC.

  • The state of the economy and resulting impact on family planning decisions also play a role.

Yes, but: The overall birth rate is also declining, particularly among teenagers, according to Guttmacher.

  • The teen pregnancy rate in Pennsylvania dropped to 26 per 1,000 people aged 15-19 in 2017, compared to a rate of 87 per 1,000 in 1988.
Abortion rate by age group, 1973-2017
Data: Guttmacher Institute; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals
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