Abortion Reporting: New Mexico (2019)

Tessa Longbons  

New Mexico’s 2019 vital statistics report, which includes the state’s abortion statistics, was published in September 2021. The report indicates that abortions declined from the previous year.

 

Changes in New Mexico Abortions, 2018-2019

The report does not include information on the number of chemical abortions performed in New Mexico or Planned Parenthood’s New Mexico abortion market share. Abortion totals were taken from the 2019 CDC abortion surveillance report.

 

Abortion Totals and Trends

 

In 2019, 2,735 abortions were performed in New Mexico on state residents. This was a decrease of three percent from 2018, when 2,825 resident abortions were reported in the state (Fig. 1). New Mexico’s 2019 abortion report does not include information on the types of procedures used to perform abortions or the number of abortions performed on nonresident women. CLI asked the New Mexico Department of Health for the total number of abortions performed in New Mexico in 2019 but has not yet received a response.

 

However, data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that 3,942 total abortions were reported in New Mexico in 2019, an increase of nearly three percent from 2018 (Fig. 1). This was due to an increase in abortions performed on nonresident women; the CDC reports that in 2019 nearly 24 percent of New Mexico abortions were performed on women from other states, up from 22 percent the previous year. In 2019, the CDC reported that 44 percent of New Mexico abortions were chemical, but the type of procedure was not reported for a large percent of the abortions. CLI estimates that New Mexico’s abortion rate increased by two percent from the previous year (Fig. 2).

 

There were 48 reporting areas that shared 2018 and 2019 abortion data with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), of which 25 reported that abortions had increased from 2018.

 

State Report Summary

 

Thirteen percent of New Mexico resident abortions were performed on girls ages 19 and younger, a higher percentage than in most other states. Twenty-eight percent of the abortions were obtained by women in their early twenties, and 24 percent were on women in their later twenties. Twenty-seven percent of the abortions were performed on women in their thirties, and three percent were on women in their forties or older.

 

New Mexico reports race and ethnicity together, and in 2019, over half of New Mexico resident abortions (52 percent) were on Hispanic women. Twenty-seven percent were on white women, and 10 percent were on American Indian or Alaska Native women. Four percent of the abortions were obtained by black women, two percent were performed on Asian or Pacific Islander women, and five percent were conducted on women of other or unknown races.

 

Sixty-five percent of New Mexico resident abortions occurred between one to eight weeks of gestation. Sixteen percent were performed between nine and 13 weeks. Two percent each were performed between 14 to 15 weeks, 16 to 17 weeks, and 18 to 20 weeks, while another two percent occurred at 21 weeks of gestation or later. However, as New Mexico serves as a destination for late-term abortions due to its lack of any gestational age limit, it is likely that a larger proportion of abortions performed on nonresidents occurred later in pregnancy. In 2019, New Mexico reported to the CDC that nearly 12 percent of all abortions occurring in the state were performed at 21 weeks of gestation or later, a higher percentage than in any other state that shared data with the CDC.

 

Abortion Law in New Mexico

 

For decades, New Mexico law prohibited most abortions, although the law was not in effect as a result of Roe v. Wade. In 2021, New Mexico repealed its abortion law so that if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade and abortion policy were to return to citizens, abortion in New Mexico would still be legal. Under current New Mexico law, there is no limit on how late in pregnancy abortions may be performed.

 

State Ranking

 

In 2016, CLI published a paper evaluating abortion reporting across the country, and New Mexico’s reporting was ranked at 42nd best. To improve its reporting, New Mexico could report all abortions occurring in the state, including those performed on nonresident women. New Mexico could also indicate the types of procedures used to perform abortions and report the reasons abortions were performed, particularly for late-term abortions.

  1. Rates were calculated by CLI using the following formula: (total number of abortions reported 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.

 

Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

 

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