Abortion Reporting: Illinois (2020)

Tessa Longbons  

The Illinois Department of Public Health published Illinois’ 2019 and 2020 abortion statistics online in February 2022.


Changes in Illinois Abortions, 2019-2020

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


Abortion Totals and Trends


Illinois released 2019 and 2020 abortion data simultaneously in February 2022. Abortion statistics are now available as online tables, rather than as downloadable PDFs as in previous years. Total abortions increased by 10 percent between 2018 and 2019 and then held relatively steady between 2019 and 2020, declining by just 0.6 percent (Fig. 1). Chemical abortions jumped 20 percent in 2019 and rose another 19 percent in 2020, making up 51 percent of the 2020 total. CLI estimates that Illinois’ 2020 abortion rate was 18.7 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, well above the national rate (Fig. 2). As of August 2022, 34 states had released 2020 abortion statistics, with 22 states reporting increases from 2019.


State Report Summary


Seventy-eight percent of Illinois abortions were performed on state residents in 2020, while 21 percent were on women from other states. Residence was not reported for just under one percent of the abortions.


Eight percent of the abortions were performed on girls under the age of 20. Twenty-eight percent were obtained by women in their early twenties, and 31 percent were performed on women in their later twenties. Twenty-nine percent of the abortions were on women in their thirties, and three percent were on women in their 40s or older. Age was not reported for 0.5 percent of the abortions. Eighty-eight percent of Illinois abortions were performed on unmarried women, and nine percent were on married women, while four percent of the abortions were performed on women whose marital status was not reported.


Fifty-eight percent of Illinois abortions occurred prior to eight weeks of gestation. Twenty-eight percent were performed between eight and 11 weeks, and eight percent occurred between 12 and 15 weeks of gestation. Four percent of the abortions were performed at 16 weeks of gestation or later; Illinois did not report the precise gestational ages at which abortions occurred after 16 weeks. Gestational age was not reported for three percent of the abortions.


Multiple methods can be reported for each abortion, so the number of abortions reported for each type of procedure add up to more than the total number of abortions reported in Illinois. Over half the abortions occurring in Illinois in 2020 (51 percent) were chemical abortions. Suction curettage was used for 37 percent of the abortions. Dilation and evacuation was used for 10 percent of the abortions, a larger percentage than in many other states. An additional 0.5 percent of the abortions were performed using some other type of abortion procedure. The abortion method was not reported for just under one percent of the abortions.


Women from Other States


Illinois’ new online format now includes information on the specific states from which women travel to Illinois for abortions. In 2020, 21 percent of Illinois abortions were performed on women who were not residents of Illinois, a higher percentage than in many other states. Missouri women made up the largest group, accounting for 14 percent of the abortions reported in Illinois, or nearly 6,600 abortions. This was likely the result of a new Planned Parenthood mega-center that opened in 2019 right across the Illinois border from Missouri in an effort to attract business from Missouri women. Four percent of the abortions were performed on Indiana women (1,878 abortions), and one percent were performed on women from Wisconsin. Less than half a percent each were performed on women from Iowa, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, and Ohio. Illinois did not report the exact numbers of abortions performed on women from states outside the region.


State Ranking


In 2016, CLI evaluated abortion reporting across the country and ranked Illinois’ reporting as tied for 13th best. Illinois published its 2019 and 2020 statistics in a new online format that makes information more accessible. However, the new format discontinued important data points, including the type of facility and whether any complications occurred (although under Illinois’ strict data suppression guidelines, much of this information was suppressed in earlier reports). Illinois now reports all abortions at 16 weeks or later as one total. To improve its reporting, the Land of Lincoln could incorporate all the information it previously reported and provide a more detailed breakdown of abortions after 16 weeks of gestation.


  1. Illinois’ 2014 abortion report was the first to include the number of chemical abortions reported in the state. Previous reports did not report chemical abortions as a separate category. The 2018 chemical abortion total has been updated to include chemical abortions performed on women of unknown residency; previous reports suppressed this number.
  2. Rates were calculated by CLI using the following formula: (total number of abortions performed in Illinois ÷ 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.


Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.


Click here to view reporting from:201820172016


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