Changes in Delaware Abortions, 2018-2019
The report does not include information on Planned Parenthood’s Delaware abortion market share.
Abortion Totals and Trends
There were 2,042 abortions reported in Delaware in 2019, a sharp increase of 21 percent from 2018. Chemical abortions jumped by 47 percent to 1,184 in 2019, making up 58 percent of all abortions reported in Delaware (Fig. 1). The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) estimates that Delaware’s 2019 abortion rate was 11.3 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, still under the national rate but up 21 percent from the previous year (Fig. 2). Forty-eight reporting areas shared 2018 and 2019 abortion statistics with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; of these, 25 indicated that abortions increased in 2019.
State Report Summary
In 2020, 86 percent of Delaware abortions were performed on state residents. Six percent were performed on Maryland women, five percent on Pennsylvania women, and two percent on women from New Jersey. Not quite one percent were performed on women from other states.
Twelve percent of the abortions reported in Delaware were performed on girls younger than age 20, a larger percentage than in many other states. This includes four percent on girls under the age of 18. Twenty-eight percent of the abortions were on women in their early twenties, and another 28 percent occurred to women in their later twenties. Twenty-nine percent of the abortions were obtained by women ages 30 to 39, and two percent were performed on women ages 40 and older.
Just over half of Delaware abortions (52 percent) were performed on white women. Forty-five percent were performed on black women, even though black women composed just 28 percent of Delaware’s population of women ages 15 to 44. Three percent of the abortions were obtained by Asian or Pacific Islander women. There were six abortions (0.3 percent) on Native American women and eight abortions (0.4 percent) on women of other races. CLI estimates that Delaware’s 2019 black abortion rate was 17.9 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age, twice the white abortion rate of 9.0. Twelve percent of the abortions were performed on Hispanic women, and 87 percent were on non-Hispanic women.
Fourteen percent of Delaware abortions were obtained by women who had not graduated from high school. Forty-three percent were performed on high school graduates, and a quarter were on women who had completed one to three years of college. Fourteen percent of the abortions were performed on women with four or more years of college. Education was unreported for four percent of the abortions.
Eleven percent of the abortions reported in 2019 were on married women, and 89 percent were on unmarried women. Twenty-nine percent of the abortions were performed on women who reported no previous pregnancies, while 70 percent were on women who had been pregnant before. Forty-two percent of the abortions were obtained by women with no previous live births, compared to a quarter on women with one live birth and a third on women with two or more. Sixty-one percent of the abortions were on women who reported zero prior abortions. Twenty-three percent were performed on women with one prior abortion, and 15 percent were on women with more than one previous abortion.
A majority of the abortions reported in Delaware (58 percent) were chemical, and 40 percent were suction curettage procedures. There were five other unspecified abortion procedures in 2019, while the type of procedure was not reported for one percent of the abortions. Twenty-six percent of the abortions occurred earlier than seven weeks of gestation, and 39 percent were performed between seven and eight weeks. Nineteen percent were reported between nine and 10 weeks, eight percent occurred between 11 and 12 weeks, and six percent were reported from 13 to 15 weeks of gestation. One percent of the abortions were performed between 16 and 20 weeks. There were nine abortions (0.4 percent) at 21 weeks of gestation or later.
Abortion Centers in Delaware
In 2021, Delaware passed a bill to remove references to abortion from its criminal code. Previously, Delaware law explicitly defined as manslaughter the death of a woman during an abortion, unless the abortion was “therapeutic” and the person performing the abortion was not acting recklessly. The bill removed this provision. In recent years, Delaware has experienced major issues with multiple abortion centers that have had to suspend abortions or even close permanently due to substandard conditions. This includes centers affiliated with notorious abortion doctors Kermit Gosnell and Stephen Brigham, who caused life-threatening and fatal injuries in other states.
In CLI’s 2016 paper on abortion reporting across the United States, Delaware’s reporting was ranked 36th best. Since Delaware abortion centers have operated in unsafe conditions in the past, Delaware could collect and report data on complications resulting from abortion. Delaware could also report the number of abortions performed at each facility in the state.
- Delaware did not report the number of chemical abortions performed in 2009 and 2010 in its state reports or in the data it shared with the CDC.
- Rates were calculated by CLI using the following formula: (total number of abortions performed in Delaware ÷ 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 the CDC WONDER database.
Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.