Abortion Reporting: Idaho (2021)

Mia Steupert, M.A., Tessa Longbons   

Idaho’s 2021 abortion report was published by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in September 2022. The report shows that abortions decreased from the previous year.

 

Statistics and Changes in Idaho Abortions, 2020-2021

This report does not include information on Planned Parenthood’s Idaho abortion market share.

 

Abortion Totals and Trends

 

Idaho reported that 1,553 abortions were performed in the state in 2021, a decrease of eight percent from 2020 (Fig. 1). Chemical abortions increased by one percent to 898 abortions in 2021, 58 percent of the state total. The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) estimates that Idaho’s abortion rate decreased 11 percent to 4.2 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 (Fig. 2). As of November 2022, 24 states had released 2021 abortion statistics, with 17 states showing that abortions had increased.

 

Idaho separately reports the numbers of abortions performed on state residents, whether they occurred in Idaho or in other states.  Idaho resident abortions that occurred in Idaho decreased by eight percent from 2020 to 1,454 while Idaho resident abortions that occurred out of state increased by 23 percent to 531. The total number of Idaho resident abortions in 2021, that occurred in and out of state, was 1,985.

 

State Reporting Summary

 

Abortions Occurring in Idaho

 

Ninety-four percent of Idaho abortions were performed on state residents, while six percent were obtained by nonresidents or women of unknown residence.

 

Twelve percent of Idaho abortions were performed on girls under the age of 20, including three percent on girls under the age of 18 and nine percent on girls ages 18 to 19. A third were on women ages 20 to 24, and a quarter occurred on women ages 25 to 29. Twenty-seven percent were obtained by women in their thirties, and three percent were conducted on women ages 40 and older.

 

Eighty-six percent of the abortions reported in Idaho were obtained by white women. Four percent were performed on black women, with another three percent on Asian or Pacific Islander women. Two percent each were performed on American Indian women and women of other races. Race was not reported for three percent of the abortions. CLI estimates that the black abortion rate was 15.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 and four times the white abortion rate of 3.9. Seventy percent of abortions were on non-Hispanic women, compared to 28 percent on Hispanic women and one percent on women of unknown ethnicity.

 

A large majority, 80 percent, of Idaho abortions were performed on unmarried women. Nineteen percent were on married women and less than one percent were on women of unknown marital status. Seventy-three percent of the abortions were obtained by women who reported no previous abortions. Nineteen percent were on women with one prior abortion, and seven percent were on women with two or more prior abortions. Just under half, 49 percent, of the abortions were performed on women with no prior live births, while 21 percent were on women with one birth and 30 percent on women with two or more births.

 

Seventy-one percent of the abortions were performed earlier than nine weeks of gestation, with 31 percent performed at six weeks of gestation or earlier and 40 percent reported between seven and eight weeks. Sixteen percent of the abortions occurred between nine and 10 weeks, and six percent were reported between 11 and 12 weeks. Another six percent of the abortions were performed early in the second trimester between 13 and 15 weeks of gestation. One percent were performed between 16 and 20 weeks, and 0.1 percent (two abortions) were reported between 21 and 24 weeks of gestation. Zero abortions were reported after 25 weeks of gestation, while gestational age was not reported for 10 abortions.

 

Chemical abortions made up over half (58 percent) of all Idaho abortions in 2021. Thirty-six percent were conducted using suction curettage, and six percent were performed via dilation and evacuation. There was one abortion performed via some other means.

 

As required by law, women were provided with educational materials in advance of all but one of the 1,553 abortions. The report explains that educational materials might not be provided during medical emergencies. Forty-seven abortions were performed on minors under the age of 18. In all 47 cases, a parent or guardian provided consent for the abortion.

 

Starting in 2019, Idaho law changed and required that abortion complications be reported on a separate Abortion Complications Report. Comparable to 2020, there were 39 reports of abortion complications.1 Multiple complications could be reported for each abortion. Of these, 77 percent (30) of the complication reports were for chemical abortions, while 23 percent (nine) of the complication reports were for surgical abortions. Of the nine surgical complications, seven were because of suction curettage procedures and two were because of dilation and evacuation procedures. There were 21 incomplete abortions and 16 failed abortions in which the pregnancy was ongoing. There were three cases of hemorrhage and one case of pain or cramps that didn’t improve with medication.

 

Eighty-one percent of the abortions occurred in Ada County, while 19 percent were performed in Twin Falls County. Two abortions occurred in Valley County, and one was reported in Madison County for the first time since 2015.

 

Residence

 

Separately, Idaho reports abortions on state residents, whether the abortion occurred in Idaho or in a different state. However, not all states share abortion data with Idaho, so these statistics are incomplete. In 2021, there were 1,985 abortions known to have been performed on Idaho residents. Seventy-three percent of these were performed in Idaho (1,454 abortions), while 27 percent were performed in other states (531 abortions). Twenty-one percent occurred in Washington and three percent were performed in Utah. Montana and Oregon accounted for a little over one percent each, while four abortions were performed in other, unspecified states.

 

Twelve percent of Idaho resident abortions were performed on girls under the age of 20. Thirty-two percent were obtained by women ages 20 to 24, and just over a quarter (26 percent) were on women ages 25 to 29. Twenty-eight percent of the abortions were on women in their thirties, and three percent were on women 40 and older.

 

White women obtained the majority of abortions (85 percent). Three percent were performed both on black women and Asian and Pacific Islander women. Two percent were performed on both American Indian women and women of other, unspecified races.  Five percent were obtained by women whose race was not reported.

 

A majority (70 percent) of the abortions were obtained by women before nine weeks of gestation. Fourteen percent were performed on women between nine and 10 weeks. Five percent of the abortions performed on Idaho residents were reported between 11 and 12 weeks of gestation, and six percent occurred between 13 and 15 weeks. Three percent were performed between 16 and 20 weeks. One percent of the abortions occurred at 21 weeks of gestation or later, with 19 abortions (less than one percent) between 21 and 24 weeks and one abortion at 25 weeks of gestation or later. Gestational age was not reported for 14 abortions.

 

State Ranking

 

In CLI’s 2016 report on abortion reporting across the country, Idaho was ranked at 17th best and tied with Wisconsin. Idaho could improve its reporting by naming the states of residence of nonresident women who travel to Idaho for abortions, as CLI has previously recommended. Idaho could also list the reasons why women are seeking abortions, as some other states do.

 

  1. Statistics on abortion complications reported here represent a minimal number of 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.
  2. Rates were calculated by CLI using the following formula: (total number of abortions performed in Idaho ÷ 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 2020-2021 are Vintage 2021 postcensal estimates of the July 1 resident population. Estimates were produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics.

 

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