Rhode Island’s 2021 abortion statistics have not yet been published by the state but are available in the 2021 abortion surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Statistics and Changes in Rhode Island Abortions, 2020-2021
The report does not include information on Planned Parenthood’s Rhode Island abortion market share.
Abortion Totals and Trends
Rhode Island’s state abortion reporting lags behind most other states. Rhode Island does not publish its reports online, and the latest report provided to the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) was for 2016. However, Rhode Island has shared data with the CDC to be included in the 2021 annual abortion surveillance report. This national report shows that between 2020 (2,611 abortions) and 2021 (2,175 abortions), both abortions overall and chemical abortions specifically reported in Rhode Island decreased by 17% (Fig. 1). CLI estimates that Rhode Island’s 2021 abortion rate was 10.0 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, a decrease of 17% (Fig. 2).2
In 2021, 16% of the abortions reported in Rhode Island were performed on women from other states, including 14% on women from Massachusetts. Eighty-four percent of the abortions occurring in Rhode Island were performed on resident women.
Eight percent of Rhode Island abortions were performed on teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19, and 28% were on women in their early twenties. Twenty-seven percent of the abortions were obtained by women in their later twenties, and 33% by women in their thirties. To protect confidentiality, the CDC suppresses small numbers, and the number of abortions performed on girls younger than 15 and women older than 40 was suppressed. Altogether, age was unreported or suppressed for 4% of the abortions.
Forty-three percent of the abortions were on women with no prior live births, and 59% were on women with no previous abortions. Twenty-six percent were obtained by women with one prior live birth and 24% by women with one previous abortion. Thirty-one percent of Rhode Island abortions were performed on women with two or more previous live births and 17% on women with two or more prior abortions. Eighty-six percent of the abortions were on unmarried women, compared to 12% on married women and 2% on women of unknown marital status.
In 2021, 51% of the abortions reported in Rhode Island were chemical abortions. Forty-eight percent were surgical procedures, while zero intrauterine instillation or hysterectomy/hysterotomy abortions were performed. The type of procedure was unknown or suppressed for three abortions.
Forty-two percent of the abortions performed in Rhode Island in 2021 occurred at six weeks of gestation or earlier. Thirty-nine percent were performed between seven and nine weeks, and 12% occurred between 10 and 13 weeks of gestation. Four percent occurred from 14 to 15 weeks of gestation, while 1% were performed between 16 and 17 weeks and another 1% occurred between 18 and 20 weeks. Seventeen abortions were reported at 21 weeks of gestation or later.
As CLI previously summarized, following the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, abortion remained legal in Rhode Island after viability to protect the mother’s life or health. However, the law does not define “health,” leaving this exception extremely broad.
In May 2023, Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee signed into law the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act, allowing Rhode Island tax dollars to pay for health insurance plans that cover abortions for state workers and Medicaid recipients.
In 2016, CLI evaluated abortion reporting across the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and New York City. Rhode Island was ranked near the bottom of the list. Rhode Island could make its abortion statistics more accessible by compiling them more quickly and publishing them online as most other states do. Additionally, the Ocean State could follow up with abortion facilities in the state to ensure that all abortions and related complications are reported.
- National rates were calculated by the Guttmacher Institute. Rhode Island rates were calculated by CLI using the following formula: (total number of abortions performed in Rhode Island ÷ number of resident women ages 15-44 [based on most recent population estimates]) 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. 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.
Click here to view reporting from:2020