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Charlotte Lozier Institute

Phone: 202-223-8073
Fax: 571-312-0544

2776 S. Arlington Mill Dr.
#803
Arlington, VA 22206

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Charlotte Lozier Institute

Phone: 202-223-8073
Fax: 571-312-0544

2776 S. Arlington Mill Dr.
#803
Arlington, VA 22206

Maternal & Public HealthAbortion

Abortion Reporting: Washington (2021)

The State of Washington has not released its 2021 resident abortion total on its Pregnancy and Abortion Dashboard. However, Washington provided some abortion data to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which included it in its 2021 abortion surveillance report.

Statistics and Changes in Washington Abortions, 2020-2021

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

Abortion Totals and Trends

Because the state has not released abortion statistics online, this summary includes data shared with the CDC by the Washington State Department of Health. According to the CDC, there were 16,349 abortions performed in Washington in 2021, down 3% from 2020. However, chemical abortions increased in 2021 by 4%, from 9,267 in 2020 to 9,655 in 2021 (Fig. 1). The CDC estimated that Washington’s 2021 abortion rate was 10.6 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, a decrease of 3% from 2020 (Fig. 2).1

State Report Summary

In 2021, 94% of the abortions reported in Washington were performed on state residents. An additional 6% were performed on women from out of state or of unknown residency, including 51 abortions on Alaska residents, 407 on Idaho residents, and 330 on Oregon residents.

Nine percent of the abortions reported in Washington were performed on girls ages 19 or younger, including 0.3% on girls under the age of 15. Over half of the abortions, 54%, were on women in their twenties, with 28% on women ages 20 to 24 and 26% on women ages 25 to 29. Thirty-two percent of the abortions were on women in their thirties, and 5% on women ages 40 or older. Age was not reported for 0.1% of abortions.

Forty-seven percent of the abortions were obtained by women with no previous live births, 22% by women with one prior live birth, and 31% by women with two or more. Fifty-nine percent of the abortions were performed on women with no prior abortions, while 22% were on women with one prior abortion and 17% on women with more than one. The number of both previous live births and previous abortions was not reported for 0.2% of 2021 Washington abortions.

In 2021, 43% of the abortions reported in Washington occurred at six weeks of gestation or earlier. Thirty-nine percent were performed between seven and nine weeks, and 11% occurred between 10 and 13 weeks. Two percent of the abortions were performed from 14 to 15 weeks, and 1% were reported between 16 and 17 weeks of gestation. Two percent were performed between 18 and 20 weeks. There were 329 abortions, 2% of the total, reported at 21 weeks of gestation or later, one of the highest totals in the country. Gestational age was not reported for 0.3% of the abortions in 2021.

Fifty-nine percent of Washington abortions were chemical, with chemical abortions at or before nine weeks of gestation making up the vast majority. Forty percent were surgical procedures. There were zero intrauterine instillation abortions or hysterectomy/hysterotomy abortions reported. One percent of abortions were performed using unknown methods.

Legislative Changes

Although Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, abortion up until birth remains legal in Washington because of the vagueness of the state’s exceptions language (Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) §9.02.100, 110-170) that allows for a broad and expansive interpretation of abortion for “health” reasons. A group of 17 states and the District of Columbia, of which Washington state is a part, filed a lawsuit in 2023 to keep chemical abortion available after plaintiffs in AHM v. FDA sought to block the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill. In April 2023, a district court judge in Washington ruled that chemical abortion remain accessible in the states involved in the lawsuit.

State Ranking

In a 2016 CLI paper surveying abortion reporting across the country, Washington’s reporting was tied for 19th best. To improve its reporting, Washington could publish its data in a timelier manner. Since the state is seeing an increase in chemical abortions, which have a higher complication rate than surgical abortions, Washington could pay particular attention to its complications data and require reporting from emergency rooms and doctors’ offices that encounter abortion complications. Washington could also release full reports with all of the data it provides to the CDC on its Pregnancy and Abortion dashboard when it releases total counts and age data.

  1. National rates were calculated by the Guttmacher Institute. Washington’s rates were calculated by CLI using the following formula: (total number of abortions performed in Washington ÷ 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

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