This is how many abortions were performed in Utah in 2020

According to CDC figures, Utah had about 19% fewer abortions in 2020 than in 2019.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) About 2,500 protesters gather on Saturday, April 14.

Fewer abortions were performed in Utah in 2020 than in 2019, according to a new study released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report counted abortions across the United States during the year the COVID-19 pandemic began. Data from 2021 or earlier this year are not yet available. But the CDC report shows that of the 630,327 abortions performed statewide, 2,362 were registered in Utah — 560 fewer than in 2019.

However, figures provided to The Salt Lake Tribune in May by the state’s two main abortion providers — the Planned Parenthood Center and the Wasatch Women’s Center — put the number at about 3,037 abortions. This record was probably also incomplete, since private doctors also perform the procedure.

The reason for the discrepancy between the CDC report and local providers remains unclear, but reporting “is not complete in all areas due to differing methodologies,” the CDC report said. The CDC also collects numbers from central state health agencies, not providers directly.

The new report documented a 1.5% decline in abortions nationwide in 2020, compared to a 19% decline in Utah, compared to 2019 figures from the Utah Department of Health.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

The apparent drop in procedures in 2020 could be due to the pandemic. The CDC report says abortion is sometimes defined as a “non-essential service,” so the procedure may not have been performed in certain areas for some portions of 2020.

Changes in practice — including a documented shift from surgical to medical abortions, as well as a rise in telemedicine appointments — may also have contributed to the decline, as well as decreased sexual activity during the pandemic.

Who Had an Abortion in Utah in 2020?

Most abortions in Utah were performed by unmarried white women between the ages of 20 and 24 who had not previously had an abortion or live birth, the report said. A “live birth” is defined as the birth of a baby showing clear signs of life.

The report states that there were 52 abortions per 1,000 live births in Utah.

About 5% of abortions in Utah were performed by out-of-state residents, for a total of 118. And about 12% of all abortions in Utah were performed by people 19 years of age or younger.

Almost half of these abortions were performed by 19-year-olds and 30% by 18-year-olds. About 27 abortions were performed by 17-year-olds, 16 by 16-year-olds, 13 by 15-year-olds and six by those under 15.

About 32% of those who performed abortions were between the ages of 20 and 24, followed by about 25% between the ages of 25 and 29 and 17% between the ages of 30 and 34.

And about 10% of Utahns who performed abortions were between the ages of 35 and 39, while about 4% were either 40 or older.

According to the report, over 56% of those who performed abortions in Utah were White, followed by Hispanic at 31% and Black at 4.5%. People of other races accounted for about 8% of abortions in Utah.

The report also states that 79% of those who received an abortion in Utah were single, for a total of 1,840.

Also, about 48% had no previous live births and 14% had three or more previous live births.

The vast majority of those who had an abortion in 2020 had not previously had one, with approximately 26% of individuals having had one or more prior abortions. Only about 5% had previously had two or more induced abortions.

What Kind of Abortions Were Performed in Utah in 2020?

The majority of abortions performed in Utah were performed in less than 9 weeks—about 36% were performed in less than 6 weeks and 37% between 7 and 9 weeks.

According to the report, Utah calculates gestational age from the date of the last normal menstrual period.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

About 18% of abortions were performed between weeks 10 and 13, followed by about 4% between weeks 14 and 15 and 2% between weeks 16 and 17.

About 3% of abortions were performed after 18 weeks or more.

Most abortions performed in Utah were surgical and performed at 13 weeks or less, accounting for 53% of abortions performed, according to the CDC report.

Medical abortions, which involve taking medication to induce an abortion at 9 weeks or less, were the second most common procedure at about 37%.

Approximately 9% of abortions were surgical and performed after more than 13 weeks, followed by approximately 1% of medical abortions performed after more than 9 weeks. This is how many abortions were performed in Utah in 2020

Justin Scacco

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