The Corner

Politics & Policy

Florida Abortion Statistics Debunk Common Pro-Choice Argument

(Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Data from Florida reveal that, in 2018, an overwhelming majority of women reported obtaining an abortion for reasons other than to preserve their own life or health, or due to fetal-health complications.

Women obtained about 70,000 abortion procedures in Florida last year, and more than three-quarters of those were classified as having been “elective,” meaning that the women did not provide a reason for having obtained the procedure. Another 20 percent of those abortions were classified as having been chosen for “social or economic reasons.”

Meanwhile, the instances that abortion-rights supporters tend to focus on accounted for a tiny percentage of the overall abortions in Florida last year. Fewer than 1.5 percent of the abortions were in cases where a woman’s physical health was threatened, fewer than 2 percent were in cases where a woman cited psychological-health problems, and fewer than .3 percent were in cases where a woman’s life was in danger. One percent of the cases involved serious fetal abnormalities. Only .14 percent of women reported having obtained an abortion due to having been raped, and only .01 percent took place in cases of incest.

A 2004 survey by the pro-choice research group the Guttmacher Institute confirms what Florida’s data suggest, finding that just 4 percent of women who obtained abortions reported a physical-health problem, 3 percent cited possible fetal-health problems, and fewer than .5 percent were pregnant as the result of having been raped. The most common reasons women cited for obtaining an abortion were not being ready for a child or another child, or being unable to afford a child.

These statistics expose a common falsehood promoted by abortion-rights activists, who insist that women never choose abortion frivolously and that most abortions take place in grave circumstances, such as cases when a woman’s life is in danger or the fetus is too sick to survive after birth. In reality, a slim minority of women choose abortion for these reasons.

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