Abortion Reporting: Indiana (2019)

Tessa Longbons  

Indiana’s 2019 abortion report was published online by the Indiana State Department of Health in July 2020. The report shows that Planned Parenthood’s share of Indiana abortions fell from 2018, although Planned Parenthood still accounts for well over half the abortions reported in the state.

 

Statistics and Changes in Indiana Abortions, 2018-2019

 

Abortion Totals and Trends

 

There were 7,637 abortions reported in Indiana in 2019. Abortions fell by five percent between 2018 and 2019 after increasing for two years (Fig. 1). Chemical abortions increased by two percent from the previous year, composing 44 percent of the total in 2019. Indiana’s 2019 abortion rate was 5.8 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, down six percent from 2018 and much lower than the national rate (Fig. 2).

 

State Report Summary

 

In 2019, 92 percent of Indiana abortions were performed on resident women, while eight percent were on nonresidents. Of the 618 women who traveled to Indiana from other states to get abortions, the majority (387) came from Kentucky. Women in their early twenties made up the largest age group, with 30 percent of Indiana abortions performed on women between the ages of 20 and 24. Twenty-eight percent of the abortions were on women ages 25 to 29, and 27 percent were on women in their thirties. Ten percent of abortions were performed on girls under the age of 20, including three percent on girls under the age of 18. Another three percent were performed on women age 40 or older.

 

More than half the abortions, 53 percent, were on white women. Thirty-two percent were performed on African American women, and three percent were performed on Asian women. There were 67 abortions on women of multiple races, 14 on American Indian or Alaska Native women, and nine on women of Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian ancestry. Ten percent of the abortions were on women of some other race. Nine percent of the abortions were on Hispanic women, and 90 percent were on non-Hispanic women.

 

Nine percent of Indiana abortions were on women with less than a high school education. Thirty-five percent were on women who had finished high school, and 27 percent were on women who had attended college but did not have a degree. Twenty-eight percent of the women had a college degree. Education status was not reported for one percent of the women undergoing abortions in Indiana.

 

A majority of Indiana abortions, 86 percent, were on unmarried women, while 14 percent were on women who were married. Forty percent had no children, compared to 24 percent with one child and 36 percent with two or more children. Over two-thirds of the abortions reported in Indiana in 2019 were on women with no previous abortions. Twenty-two percent were on women with one prior abortion and 10 percent on women with more than one. Eighteen percent of the abortions were on women who had at least one prior miscarriage.

 

Sixty-five percent of the abortions reported in 2019 occurred at eight weeks of gestation or earlier. Thirty-five percent were performed between nine and 13 weeks. Abortions dropped after 13 weeks, with 34 abortions performed between 14 and 20 weeks of gestation; according to the report, abortions at or after 14 weeks were performed in hospitals. There were six abortions reported at 21 weeks of gestation. Indiana limits abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization, which is approximately 22 weeks of gestation. Forty-four percent of the abortions were chemical abortions, and 56 percent were performed using surgical procedures. The month of May had the highest number of abortions (739) and September had the lowest (503).

 

No abortions were reported to result in deaths in 2019. Fifty women had incomplete abortions that required a surgical procedure to complete. Additionally, 45 women experienced other complications, although the report does not indicate what these complications were.1 In 2018, Indiana attempted to improve its abortion reporting system by enacting a law to require medical professionals to report an array of abortion complications they encounter, but the law was blocked from going into effect and overturned in 2020 after a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which carries out nearly three in five abortions in the state. Indiana has appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

No babies were reported to have been born alive during abortions in 2019. Previously, the Indiana State Department of Health had informed the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) that one baby had survived an abortion in 2019; the Department of Health explained that the data had not yet been verified when it was originally provided to CLI.

 

Indiana Abortion Centers

 

Indiana is one of just a few states to report the number of abortions performed at each abortion facility in the state. In 2019, Planned Parenthood’s four Indiana abortion centers performed 58 percent of the abortions, down from 69 percent the previous year. Thirty-four percent of Indiana abortions occurred at Planned Parenthood’s Indianapolis center, 13 percent at the Merrillville center, 11 percent at the Bloomington center, and just a quarter of a percent at the Lafayette center.

 

Planned Parenthood’s declining Indiana abortion market share may have been impacted by multiple factors. Planned Parenthood performs a disproportionately high number of the abortions on nonresident women (86 percent in 2019), and total nonresident abortions declined from 774 in 2018 to 618 in 2019. Additionally, other Indiana abortion centers increased their market shares. The Women’s Med Center of Indianapolis reported 1,754 abortions in 2019 (23 percent), up from 1,269 in 2018, and Clinic for Women reported 1,279 abortions in 2019 (17 percent), up from 1,145 the previous year. A new abortion center, Whole Woman’s Health in South Bend, began operating partway through the year, reporting 138 abortions in 2019.

 

In addition to the abortions performed by Indiana abortion centers in 2019, three hospitals reported 52 abortions. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital reported 34 abortions, Indiana University Health Methodist reported 17, and Indiana University Health North Hospital reported one.

 

State Ranking

 

Indiana’s abortion reporting is one of the best in the country; in 2016, CLI’s overview of abortion reporting across the United States ranked Indiana’s reports at 5th best. Indiana made a few improvements to its system in 2019 by reporting the number of abortions performed at each week of gestation, rather than using broad ranges, and by identifying the states from which women traveled to get abortions instead of reporting all nonresident abortions as a single total. Additionally, Indiana could add steps to ensure that born alive infants and other information reported by abortion providers is accurate. Although Indiana’s efforts to strengthen its complication reporting have been hampered, Indiana could further improve its reporting by reporting the specific types of complications experienced by women undergoing abortions in the state and revisiting the legal issue as conditions change in the federal courts regarding these reasonable health safeguards.

 

  1. Statistics on abortion complications reported here represent a minimal number of deaths and 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 population estimates from the United States Census Bureau. The rates were calculated using the following formula: (total number of abortions performed in Indiana ÷ number of resident women ages 15-44) x 1,000. Rates may differ slightly from previous CLI articles due to revised population estimates.

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