Abortion Reporting: Wyoming (2019)

Tessa Longbons  

Wyoming’s 2019 abortion statistics were published online by the Wyoming Department of Health. The 2019 report is the first public abortion report released by the state.

 

Because 2019 is Wyoming’s first reporting year, there are no changes from the previous year to report.

 

Abortion Totals and Trends

 

Wyoming’s 2019 abortion report is the first published after the passage of a new state law requiring the Wyoming Department of Health’s Office of Vital Statistics Services to compile and publish abortion statistics each year. The report covers the second half of 2019 and provides information on 31 abortions, from which Vital Statistics Services extrapolates to 62 abortions for the entire year, yielding a state abortion rate of 0.57 per 1,000 women ages 15-44 (Fig. 1). Chemical abortions composed 100 percent of all abortions.

 

State Report Summary

 

The majority of the abortions reported in 2019, 26 abortions, were performed on Wyoming residents, while five abortions were performed on women from other states. Eighteen of the abortions were performed on women between the ages of 25 and 34. Seven abortions were performed on women under the age of 25, and six were on women over the age of 34. The report does not provide the precise racial composition of abortions in Wyoming, but states that the abortions were performed on “primarily white, non-Hispanic residents of Wyoming with an unknown marital status.”

 

As noted, all the abortions were chemical abortions. Wyoming requires that the measurements of babies killed through abortion be reported, but the report explains that because none of the abortions were surgical, “no fetal or embryotic measurements were expected nor received.”

 

Eighteen abortions were performed at six weeks of gestation or earlier, and 13 occurred from seven to 10 weeks; no abortions were reported after 10 weeks of gestation. Elective abortions in Wyoming are permitted until viability, but the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) has not identified any Wyoming abortion centers that advertise abortion after 12 weeks. Most (19 abortions) were performed on women who had no previous abortions. Six were on women with one previous abortion, and another six on women with more than one. Similarly, 17 of the abortions were performed on women with no prior live births, while five abortions were on women with one live birth and nine abortions on women with two or more live births.

 

Wyoming Abortion Reporting

 

Since 1977, Wyoming has required doctors to report abortions they perform. Historically, Wyoming has shared this data with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but has not published any state abortion reports. In recent years, fewer than 20 abortions were reported in Wyoming annually, standing in sharp contrast to the 140 abortions estimated by the Guttmacher Institute in 2017. Both of Wyoming’s abortion providers acknowledged ignoring the abortion reporting requirement, considering it unenforceable. Instead, one abortion provider reported abortion statistics directly to Guttmacher.

 

In 2018, Wyoming enacted a new law to strengthen the abortion reporting requirement and provide for the publication of an annual report. Under the new law, a doctor who fails to report an abortion may be subject to discipline by the board of medicine. The total of 31 abortions reported in the second half of 2019 is an improvement in Wyoming’s abortion reporting, although still far lower than Guttmacher’s estimates.

 

State Ranking

 

Because Wyoming previously did not publish abortion statistics, the state was not included in CLI’s 2016 survey of abortion reporting across the country. This first annual abortion report marks a solid step forward for the Equality State, but Wyoming could continue to improve its reporting by enforcing its reporting requirements, publishing information on the complications mothers experience, and ensuring that all abortions are reported.

 

  1. 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 reported in Wyoming ÷ number of resident women ages 15-44) x 1,000. Rates may differ slightly from those reported by Wyoming and the Guttmacher Institute due to revised population estimates.

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