REPORT: Abortions for most common ‘exceptions’ remain a tiny fraction of total

20 weeks, abortion, media

Abortion exceptions such as reasons of rape, incest, or life of the mother, make up a very small percentage of overall abortions, according to recent data analyzed by the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI). “Overall, common exceptions to abortion restrictions are estimated to account for less than 5% of all abortions,” CLI’s report, dated August 2022, states.

“The most recent available data is from eight states that collect and report women’s reasons for choosing abortion. These eight states account for approximately 122,000 abortions each year, 13% of the U.S. total,” CLI wrote. According to the August 2022 report the data comes from Arizona (2021), Florida (2021), Louisiana (2020), Minnesota (2021), Nebraska (2020), Oklahoma (2021), South Dakota (2019), and Utah (2019).

CLI’s report reveals that abortion “exceptions” are a small percentage of abortions:

  • Rape and incest: 0.3%
  • Risk to the woman’s life or a major bodily function: 0.2%
  • Other physical health concerns: 2.5%
  • Abnormality in the unborn baby: 1.3%
  • Elective and unspecified reasons: 95.7%

Data previously analyzed by Live Action News showed similar results to CLI’s more recent findings. And even in the case of later abortions, Live Action News previously documented that few are committed for health reasons.

Image: Abortion Reasons chart shows abortion exceptions a small percentage (Charlotte Lozier Institute 2022)

Abortion Reasons chart shows abortion exceptions a small percentage (Charlotte Lozier Institute 2022)

A small number of states require reporting abortion by reason

Florida’s 2021 abortion report revealed that 79,817 abortions were committed that year with over 74% committed for elective reasons, nearly 21% (16,983) for “social or economic reasons,” and just .14% occurred due to a life endangering physical condition.

Louisiana’s 2020 report indicated that out of 7,473 total abortions, just .4% were committed for rape or incest while .2% were done for fetal anomaly.


Image: Abortion by reason Florida 2021 and Louisiana 2020

Abortion by reason Florida 2021 and Louisiana 2020

Abortions for contraceptive failure totaled 471 in Nebraska (2020) and 76 in Utah (2019) while in South Dakota (2019) the reason titled, “the mother did not desire to have the child,” made up 70% of abortions in that state. It is important to note that women were able to list more than one reason for choosing to end the life of their preborn child.


Image: Abortion by reason Nebraska, S. Dakota, Utah

Abortion by reason Nebraska, S. Dakota, Utah

Arizona abortions for 2021 have not been made publicly available, while Oklahoma’s 2021 report revealed a long list of reasons given by women seeking abortion, including that the “baby would interfere with the education of the mother” and that the “partner wants the mother to have the abortion.”

Pregnant mothers seeking abortion in Oklahoma also gave stated reasons, including that the mother…

  • was not ready for a child.
  • was a student or planning to be a student.
  • had other children.
  • could not afford the child.
  • was unemployed.
  • did not want to be a single mother.
  • was unable or unwilling to get married.
  • did not want people to know she had sex.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, less than 1% of total reported abortions (10,136) in 2021 were committed for rape (44) or incest (11), while 54% of abortions were committed because the mother “d[id] not want children at this time.”

Image: Abortion by reason Minnesota 2021

Abortion by reason Minnesota 2021

According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, as of August 1, 2022, just “16 states require providers to give some information about the patient’s reason for seeking the procedure.” The report also says just 10 states record abortions for reasons of the mother’s life or health, seven for rape or incest, 15 for health of the baby, and nine states include things like economic or social reasons.

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