Abortion Reporting: Arkansas (2022)
The Arkansas Department of Health released its annual abortion report in June 2023, showing that both the total number of abortions and chemical abortions specifically significantly declined in 2022. This is the second state abortion report summary from Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) covering calendar year 2022.
Statistics and Changes in Arkansas Abortions, 2021-2022
The report does not include information on Planned Parenthood’s Arkansas abortion market share.
Abortion Totals and Trends
There were 1,621 abortions reported in Arkansas in 2022, down 48.3 percent from the previous year (Fig. 1). Chemical abortions decreased by a staggering 68.2 percent from 1,190 in 2021 to 379 in 2022. CLI) estimates that Arkansas’ state abortion rate decreased by 48.3 percent in 2022, dropping to 2.8 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 (Fig. 2).
State Report Summary
In 2022, 73 percent of Arkansas abortions were performed on state residents, while 27 percent were on women from other states, a significant increase from 2021 when 12 percent of total Arkansas abortions were on nonresident women. Women from Texas constituted the largest group of out-of-state women obtaining abortions in Arkansas, accounting for 16 percent of the total. One potential explanation for this increase in the number of Texas women seeking abortions and the consequent increase in nonresident women obtaining abortions in Arkansas is that , 2022, Arkansas allowed abortions up to 20 weeks probable post-fertilization (abbreviated “PPF” below, which is approximately 22 weeks gestation), while Texas prohibited abortions after the detection of the baby’s heartbeat in September 2021.
Sixty percent of Arkansas abortions were performed on women in their twenties, with nearly 31 percent performed on women ages 20 to 24 and just under 30 percent on women ages 25 to 29. Twenty-six percent of abortions in the state were obtained by women in their thirties, and two percent were obtained by women in their forties or older. Seven percent of the abortions were obtained by girls ages 18 to 19, and three percent were on girls under the age of 18. According to the report, parental consent was required for 54 abortions, including 52 abortions on girls under the age of 18, one abortion on a 19-year-old girl, and one abortion on a woman between the ages of 25-29 years old (the report did not indicate why parental consent was required in this case). Parental consent was provided in 48 of the 54 cases that required it, while a judicial waiver for the parental consent requirement was obtained in 11 cases (including five cases in which parental consent was also provided). Eighty-nine percent of Arkansas abortions were performed on non-Hispanic women, and 10 percent were on Hispanic women. Almost two percent of abortions were on women of unknown ethnicity. Ninety-two percent of the abortions reported in Arkansas were on unmarried women, only eight percent were on married women, and less than one percent (0.6 percent) were on women of unknown marital status.
Sixty-four percent of Arkansas abortions were performed on women with no previous abortions. Just over a fifth (21 percent) were performed on women with one prior abortion, and 15 percent involved women with two or more previous abortions. A tick under one-third of the abortions (32 percent) were obtained by women with no previous live births, while just over a quarter (27 percent) were on women with one live birth and 40 percent on women with more than one.
Similar to 2021, suction and curettage was the most frequently used abortion procedure, accounting for 54 percent of the abortions reported in Arkansas. Twenty-three percent were chemical abortions, and another 23 percent were performed using dilation and evacuation. The significant decrease in chemical abortions from previous years could be a result of the passage of HB 1402 (Act 562) in 2021 which went into effect in July 2021, making 2022 the first full year that the law was in effect. This law requires abortion-inducing drugs to be administered only by physicians and obliges physicians to provide women with an in-person examination before prescribing, administering, or dispensing an abortion-inducing drug.
Seventeen percent of the abortions occurred at six weeks post-fertilization or earlier, with one percent performed before five weeks and 16 percent performed between five and six weeks post-fertilization. Interestingly, this was down from 2021, when 39 percent of the abortions occurred at six weeks post-fertilization or earlier, with10 percent performed before five weeks and 29 percent performed between five and six weeks post-fertilization. In 2022, 32 percent of the abortions were performed between seven and eight weeks, 22 percent between nine and 10 weeks, and 11 percent between 11 and 12 weeks post-fertilization. Seven percent were performed between 13 and 14 weeks, and eight percent between 15 and 17 weeks. Two percent occurred between 18 and 19 weeks post-fertilization.
Arkansas also publishes a report on its informed consent process, though because the data is collected separately from the abortion data, it is not directly comparable to the abortion report. In 2022, there were 2,089 women who received medical information related to abortion, and the same number of women received non-medical information. Thirty-six women who were seeking abortions at 20 weeks gestation or later were provided with information on fetal pain.
Abortion Complications in Arkansas
2022 marked Arkansas’ third full year collecting data about abortion complications in the state after a new complication reporting law went into effect in July 2019.1 To summarize this data, Arkansas publishes a separate complications report. Twelve complications were reported in 2022, half of which resulted from chemical abortions despite chemical abortions making up just 23 percent of the total abortions performed in Arkansas in 2022. Three complications resulted from suction and curettage procedures, and another three from dilation and evacuation procedures. There were three incomplete abortions, two cervical lacerations, one infection, and six other unspecified complications. No babies were reported to have survived abortions in 2022.
Race and Abortion in Arkansas
Over half the abortions (54 percent) were performed on black women. Thirty-three percent were performed on white women, and 13 percent were performed on women of other races. Among the 26 states that reported abortion data by race for 2021, Arkansas had one of the largest discrepancies between the black and white abortion rate. Every state that reported abortion data by race for 2021 had black abortion rates of at least two times the white abortion rate.2 That same year, however, Arkansas reported a black abortion rate nearly seven times that of the white abortion rate. That trend will likely continue: CLI estimates that Arkansas’ 2022 black abortion rate was 8.4 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, seven times higher than the white abortion rate of 1.2.
Because the danger of abortion procedures increases as the pregnancy progresses, it is concerning that not only were abortions performed on black women in Arkansas at a higher rate at every gestational point recorded (<5 weeks – 19 weeks post-fertilization), but the difference in abortion totals between races became particularly striking later in pregnancy (15-19 weeks post-fertilization):
|PPF Age (Weeks)||# of ab. on White Women||# of ab. on Black Women|
In 2016, CLI ranked abortion reports across the 50 states, New York City, and the District of Columbia, with Arkansas ranking as 11th best. Now that Arkansas protects life throughout pregnancy, the state could improve its reporting by specifying how any abortions performed in the state met the exceptions established by law and ensure that any complications caused by out-of-state abortions are reported.
- Statistics on abortion complications reported here represent a minimal number of deaths and complications.
- These states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.
- Rates were calculated by CLI using the following formula: (total number of abortions performed in Arkansas ÷ number of resident women ages 15-44) x 1,000. Rates may differ slightly from previous CLI articles due to revised population estimates. Population estimates were obtained from CDC WONDER. Estimates for 2005-2009 are intercensal estimates of the July 1 resident population. Estimates for 2010-2019 are Vintage 2020 postcensal estimates of the July 1 resident population. Estimates for 2020-2022 are Vintage 2021 postcensal estimates of the July 1 resident population as the CDC has not released 2022 population estimates. Estimates were produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics.