Arizona’s 2020 abortion report was published online by the Arizona Department of Health Services in November 2021.
Statistics and Changes in Arizona Abortions, 2019-2020
Abortion Totals and Trends
In 2020, there were 13,273 abortions reported in Arizona, an increase of one percent from 2019. Abortions performed on Arizona residents also increased by one percent, while chemical abortions on state residents jumped by 27 percent (Fig. 1). The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that Arizona’s state abortion rate was 9.3 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, lower than the national rate (Fig. 2). As of March 2022, 29 states had released abortion statistics for 2020, with 19 states showing that abortions had increased.
State Report Summary
Of the abortions reported in Arizona in 2020, 13,186 (99 percent) were performed on Arizona residents. Most of the information in the report is for resident abortions only.
Nine percent of Arizona resident abortions were performed on girls under the age of 20, with two percent on girls ages 17 or younger and seven percent on girls ages 18 and 19. Thirty percent of the abortions were obtained by women ages 20 to 24, and 28 percent were performed on women ages 25 to 29. Twenty-nine percent of the abortions were performed on women in their thirties and four percent were performed on women ages 40 and older. In Arizona, parental consent is required before an abortion may be performed on a minor girl under the age of 18. In 2020, 37 minors filed petitions asking judges to waive the parental consent requirement, of which 36 were granted.
Arizona reports race and ethnicity together, and in 2020, 41 percent of Arizona resident abortions were obtained by Hispanic women. Thirty-six percent of the abortions were on non-Hispanic white women, and 12 percent were on African American women. Four percent of Arizona resident abortions were obtained by Asian or Pacific Islander women. Three percent of the abortions were on American Indian women, while two percent were on women of multiple races and another two percent were on women whose race was not reported.
The majority of the abortions for which education was reported were on women with at least 12 years of education: a fifth of the abortions were obtained by women with 12 years of education, and another fifth were performed on women with 13 to 16 years of education, while four percent of the abortions were on women with 17 years of education or more. In contrast, nine percent of the abortions were performed on women with fewer than 12 years of education. However, education was not reported for 48 percent of the abortions.
Eighty-five percent of Arizona abortions were performed on unmarried women, while 15 percent were on married women. Sixty-nine percent of the abortions were on women with at least one prior pregnancy. Twenty-one percent of the abortions were on women with one previous live birth, and 35 percent were on women with two or more, while 43 percent of the abortions were performed on women with no previous live births. Sixty-four percent of Arizona resident abortions were performed on women with no previous abortions, compared to 23 percent on women with one prior abortion and 11 percent on women with two or more abortions. Nineteen percent of Arizona abortions were performed on women who had previously had a miscarriage. The number of previous live births and abortions was not reported for one percent of Arizona resident abortions, while the number of miscarriages was not reported for 1.5 percent.
Just under 50 percent of the abortions were performed surgically, including 153 that involved an abortifacient. Just over 50 percent were chemical abortions, of which the vast majority were induced using mifepristone.
Twenty-nine percent of Arizona resident abortions occurred at six weeks of gestation or earlier. Thirty-six percent were performed between seven and eight weeks, and 17 percent were performed between nine and 10 weeks of gestation. Seven percent occurred between 11 and 12 weeks, and four percent were performed between 13 and 14 weeks. Three percent were performed between 15 and 16 weeks of gestation, and two percent were performed from 17 to 19 weeks. There were 238 abortions (1.8 percent) performed at 20 weeks of gestation or later, with 0.5 percent at 20 weeks and 1.3 percent at or after 21 weeks.
The vast majority of Arizona resident abortions (99.6 percent) were performed in abortion centers. There were 48 abortions performed in hospitals, 39 on an inpatient basis and nine as outpatient procedures. Nine abortions occurred in a different type of facility. Seventy-four percent of the abortions were performed by doctors specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, and 26 percent were performed by doctors who specialized in general family practice. The numbers of abortions performed by emergency medicine physicians or doctors with other or multiple specialties were suppressed, since fewer than six abortions were performed by each of these specialties.
Planned Parenthood accounted for 41 percent of the abortions, with 14 percent each at Planned Parenthood’s Tempe and Glendale centers, 13 percent at the Tucson center, and not quite one percent at the Flagstaff center. A quarter of Arizona resident abortions occurred at Camelback Family Planning, and 21 percent were performed at Family Planning Associates Medical Group. Seven percent were reported by Acacia Women’s Center, and five percent were performed by Desert Star Family Planning. An additional eight hospitals and doctor’s offices also reported abortions.
A quarter of the women undergoing abortions received anesthesia, while 75 percent did not receive anesthesia. Nine percent of the unborn babies killed by abortion were anesthetized, compared to 91 percent who were not given anesthesia. In Arizona, abortion facilities must report what was done with the unborn babies’ bodies. In almost every case, facilities reported that “tissue was not donated in part or whole.” The remains were delivered to a mortuary in 84 cases. No babies were donated for research.
In 2020, there were 17 reports of complications occurring during the abortion procedure, and 15 complications reported subsequent to the abortion procedure.1 Arizona’s state Medicaid agency, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), pays for abortions in limited circumstances, and in 2020 AHCCCS funded three abortions.
Arizona requires that women be given necessary information and allowed the opportunity to give their informed consent before an abortion is performed. Arizona collects information on informed consent separately from the abortion reporting form, and the reporting requirement applies to both doctors who perform abortions and doctors who provide abortion referrals. In 2020, 10,546 women were provided with information about the abortion procedure, and 10,548 were provided with information about their rights and alternatives available to them. Additionally, 10,459 women were given the opportunity to listen to their baby’s heartbeat or view their ultrasound. There were no reported medical emergencies creating exceptions to the informed consent requirement. The report does not explain why fewer women obtained the informed consent information than underwent abortions in 2020.
In 2020, nine babies were reported to survive abortions; the report does not say what happened to these babies or how they were cared for.
Reasons for Abortion
Arizona collects the reasons for which abortions are performed, and women can give more than one reason. In 2020, 69 percent of the women undergoing abortions indicated that the abortion was elective. Four percent of the abortions were performed due to maternal health considerations, and two percent were performed because of the health of the unborn baby. Approximately 0.4 percent of the abortions were performed due to domestic violence, and 0.3 percent were performed because of sexual assault. Twenty-seven percent of the women declined to give a reason, and 24 percent provided a different reason. Of the women who shared another reason for getting an abortion, 55 percent reported that they chose abortion because they wished to not have children.
Separately, the report includes a table with the number of abortions performed for maternal or fetal health conditions, although it is not clear if these completely overlapped with the abortions for the health of the mother or baby. Approximately 130 abortions were performed because the baby had a health condition, including seven for a central nervous system anomaly, six for a chromosomal abnormality, six due to multiple anomalies, and 94 due to unspecified conditions. The reasons for the remaining abortions were suppressed. Approximately 490 abortions were performed because of a maternal condition. The report does not indicate whether any of these conditions were life-threatening.
Arizona is one of the best states for abortion reporting, tying for third place in CLI’s review of abortion reporting across the country. As CLI has previously suggested, Arizona could continue to improve its reporting by ensuring that all health care providers are aware of the state requirement to report abortion complications they treat, particularly emergency rooms and other urgent care facilities. Chemical abortions have a higher rate of abortion-related emergency room visits than surgical abortions, so the surge in chemical abortions in Arizona could result in an increase in ER visits. Additionally, the state could provide more details on babies who survive abortions.
Statistics on abortion complications reported here represent a minimal number of deaths and complications, as this data is collected in a non-systematic and non-verifiable way. As such, this data cannot be used to calculate either an accurate abortion mortality rate or an accurate abortion complication rate for the state.
- 2011 was the first full year of reporting after Arizona’s law requiring abortions to be reported went into effect. In 2011, Arizona included abortions induced with digoxin in the nonsurgical abortion category; digoxin abortions were not included in this category in later reports and have been excluded from the 2011 chemical abortion total.
- Rates were calculated by CLI using the following formula: (number of abortions performed on Arizona residents ÷ number of resident women ages 15-44) x 1,000. Rates may differ slightly from previous CLI articles due to revised population estimates.