In January 2021, New Mexico released its health statistics annual report, which includes abortion statistics for 2018. Additional abortion data is available in the abortion surveillance reports published by the CDC.
Changes in New Mexico Abortions, 2017-2018
The change in total abortions and the abortion rate reflect all abortions occurring in New Mexico. Information on the number of chemical abortions performed in New Mexico and Planned Parenthood’s New Mexico abortion market share is not included in the abortion report.
Abortion Totals and Trends
In 2018, there were 2,825 abortions performed in New Mexico on state residents, down six percent from 2017 (Fig. 1). New Mexico’s abortion report does not provide information on all abortions occurring in the state, including those performed on nonresident women. However, New Mexico shared this information with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC’s latest report shows that in 2018, 3,847 abortions were reported in New Mexico, down four percent from the prior year. Using the total reported by the CDC, the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) estimates that New Mexico’s 2018 abortion rate was 9.7 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, lower than the national rate (Fig. 2).
State Report Summary
Twelve percent of the abortions performed on New Mexico residents were on girls under the age of 20. Twenty-eight percent were performed on women ages 20 to 24, and a quarter were on women ages 25 to 29. Twenty-six percent of the abortions were on women in their thirties, and four percent were on women age 40 and above. Six percent of the abortions were performed on women of unknown age.
A majority of the abortions performed on women living in New Mexico, 53 percent, were on Hispanic women. Twenty-seven percent were on white women, and 11 percent were on American Indian or Alaska Native women. Three percent of the abortions were performed on black women, and two percent were performed on Asian or Pacific Islander women, while four percent were on women whose race was not reported. Of the 29 states that report the percentage of abortions performed on Native American women, New Mexico is the second highest (behind Alaska).
In 2018, 69 percent of the abortions performed on New Mexico residents occurred between one and eight weeks of gestation. Seventeen percent were performed between nine and 13 weeks, and three percent were performed between 14 and 15 weeks of gestation. One percent occurred between 16 and 17 weeks, and another one percent were reported from 18 to 20 weeks. Not quite two percent of the abortions, 1.6 percent, were performed at 21 weeks of gestation or later. Gestational age was not reported for seven percent of the abortions.
New Mexico shares information on all abortions with the CDC, including those performed on nonresidents. This data is available in the national abortion surveillance reports published by the CDC. New Mexico reported to the CDC that in 2018, 3,847 abortions occurred in the state, of which 22 percent were performed on nonresident women.
Eighty percent of the abortions occurring in New Mexico were on unmarried women, while 15 percent were on married women and five percent on women of unknown marital status. Thirty-seven percent of the abortions were on women with no previous live births. Twenty-one percent were performed on women with one prior live birth, and a third were on women with two or more previous live births. Nine percent of the abortions were on women whose pregnancy histories were not reported.
Compared to the abortions performed on New Mexico residents, a larger proportion of the abortions occurring in New Mexico were performed later in pregnancy. Forty-three percent were performed at six weeks of gestation or earlier, and 24 percent were performed between seven and nine weeks. Ten percent of the abortions were reported between 10 and 13 weeks of gestation. Three percent were performed between 14 and 15 weeks, two percent between 16 and 17 weeks, and another three percent between 18 and 20 weeks of gestation. Nine percent of the abortions were performed at 21 weeks of gestation or later, the highest percentage of all 42 reporting areas (41 states and New York City) that reported usable gestational age data to the CDC for 2018. Seven percent of the abortions occurred at unreported gestational ages.
New Mexico places no limits on how late in pregnancy an abortion may be performed. Consequently, the state is home to Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO), an abortion center that performs abortions through 32 weeks and on an individual basis after that. SWO has been subject to several lawsuits and accusations of malpractice. One woman was severely injured during a 17-week abortion and required a hysterectomy; a few years later, her sister obtained an abortion at 24 weeks from SWO and died from complications. Another woman suffered a ruptured uterus while undergoing an abortion at 35 weeks. Multiple women have wound up in the emergency room with injuries. Additionally, a woman sued SWO for failure to obtain proper informed consent before using her baby’s body for research.
In 2016, CLI published an overview of state abortion reporting across the country, and New Mexico’s reporting was ranked near the bottom of the list at 42nd best. To improve its reporting, New Mexico could publish the data it shares with the CDC, including the number of abortions performed on women from out-of-state and basic information on women’s pregnancy history and marital status. Additionally, New Mexico could report the type of abortion procedures used, such as the percentage of chemical abortions, and the number of abortions that resulted in complications.
- Abortion totals may differ slightly from previous reports due to minor differences between New Mexico state data and CDC data.
- The rates were calculated using the following formula: (total number of abortions performed in New Mexico ÷ 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.