Abortion Reporting: Florida (2020)

Tessa Longbons  

Florida publishes preliminary abortion totals on the website of the Agency for Health Care Administration and was one of the first states to release 2020 abortion statistics. Its full report was provided to the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) in May 2021.

 

Changes in Florida Abortions, 2019-2020

The report does not include information on Planned Parenthood’s Florida abortion market share.

 

Abortion Totals and Trends

 

Nearly 75,000 abortions were reported in Florida in 2020, an increase of four percent from the previous year. Of the 74,868 abortions performed in 2020, there were 41,809 chemical abortions, 56 percent of the total. Chemical abortions increased by a dramatic 24 percent from 2019 (Fig. 1).

 

The Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that Florida’s 2020 abortion rate was 19.2 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, up four percent from 2019 and higher than the national rate (Fig. 2). As of August 2021, 15 states had released 2020 abortion statistics, and 10 states reported increases from 2019.

 

Florida publishes regular preliminary abortion reports on the website of the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and makes its full report available upon request. Reports are finalized in July, and numbers can change slightly. The report AHCA provided to CLI has 65 fewer abortions than the latest report on AHCA’s website, or 0.09% of all abortions reported in Florida.

 

State Report Summary

 

Ninety-five percent of Florida abortions were reported to be performed on state residents in 2020, while five percent were performed on nonresidents. Seven percent of the abortions were performed on girls under the age of 20 (two percent were on girls under the age of 18). Twenty-seven percent of Florida abortions were obtained by women ages 20 to 24, and 29 percent were on women ages 25 to 29. A third of the abortions occurring in Florida were performed on women in their thirties, and four percent were on women ages 40 and older.

 

Forty-seven percent of the abortions were performed on white women, and 37 percent were on black women. CLI estimates that Florida’s black abortion rate was 33.4 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age, nearly three times the white rate. Nine percent were performed on women of other races, and six percent were on women of unknown race. Twenty-seven percent of Florida abortions were on Hispanic women, 67 percent on non-Hispanic women, and six percent on women of unreported ethnicity.

 

Thirteen percent of the abortions were on married women, and 73 percent were on unmarried women, while 14 percent were obtained by women whose marital status was not reported. Thirty-seven percent of the abortions were on women with no previous live births. A quarter were on women with one live birth, and another 37 percent were obtained by women with two or more live births. Over half the women undergoing abortions (56 percent) reported zero prior abortions, while a quarter reported one abortion and 19 percent had undergone more than one previous abortion.

 

More than half the abortions reported in Florida in 2020, 56 percent, were chemical. Forty percent were curettage procedures, and a different or unreported method was used for four percent. Six abortions were performed via hysterotomy or hysterectomy.

 

Three-quarters of the abortions occurring in Florida were performed at six weeks post-fertilization or earlier.1 Twelve percent were performed between seven and eight weeks, and five percent occurred between nine and 10 weeks after fertilization. Three percent were performed between 11 and 12 weeks, two percent between 13 and 14 weeks, and one percent between 15 and 17 weeks. There were 923 abortions (1.2 percent) performed at 18 weeks post-fertilization or later (approximately 20 weeks of gestation or later).

 

Three-quarters of Florida abortions were reported as “elective”, and an additional fifth were performed for social or economic reasons. Two percent were performed for the mother’s emotional or psychological health, and 1.5 percent were for the mother’s physical health. One percent of Florida abortions were performed because the unborn baby had an abnormality. There were 146 abortions (0.2 percent) performed because of risk to the mother’s life, 112 abortions (0.1 percent) due to rape, and nine abortions due to incest.

 

Seven babies were reported to have been born alive during abortions in Florida in 2020. The report does not include information about these babies’ outcomes.

 

Late-Term Abortions

 

Although chemical abortions have been rising rapidly in Florida, the increase in Florida abortions has not been among only first trimester abortions. While the jump has not been as dramatic as that of chemical abortions, late-term abortions have increased as well. In 2020, there were 259 abortions reported at 18 weeks post-fertilization (around 20 weeks of gestation). There were 255 abortions at 19 weeks, 190 at 20 weeks, and 219 at 21 weeks or later, for a total of 923 abortions after 18 weeks post-fertilization. Overall, abortions at 18 weeks post-fertilization or later increased by three percent from 2017.

 

In 2021, the Florida legislature considered a bill that would have limited abortion at 20 weeks of gestation (approximately 18 weeks post-fertilization), when unborn babies can feel pain. However, the bill did not make it out of committee.

 

State Ranking

 

In CLI’s 2016 survey of abortion reporting across the country, Florida was ranked at 40th best. Starting in 2017, Florida made significant improvements to its abortion reporting, now including the type of abortion procedures used and the demographics of the women who obtain abortions in the state. As CLI has previously suggested, Florida could continue to improve its reporting by making all tables available online and providing more information about the babies who survive abortions in the state. Florida could also report the reasons why late-term abortions were performed and whether any women experienced complications from abortion.

 

  1. For more information on Florida’s method of measuring the length of pregnancies ending in abortion, please see here: https://lozierinstitute.org/abortion-reporting-florida-2019/
  2. Rates were calculated by CLI using the following formula: (total number of abortions performed in Florida ÷ 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.

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