Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients, 2008


Lawrence B. Finer
The time is now. Will you stand up for reproductive health and rights?

Key Points

Key Points
  • In 2008, the majority of women obtaining abortions (58%) were in their 20s; women in their 30s made up the second largest age-group (22%).
  • Non-Hispanic white women accounted for 36% of abortions, non-Hispanic black women for 30%, Hispanic women for 25% and non-Hispanic women of other races for 9%. While no group made up the majority of abortion patients, black and Hispanic women were overrepresented.
  • The overwhelming majority of women having abortions (85%) were unmarried, including 29% who were cohabiting. Among never-married women obtaining abortions, almost one-half had been in a relationship for a year or longer with the man who had made them pregnant.
  • Most women having abortions (61%) already had at least one child, including 34% who had two or more children. n Some 42% of women having abortions were poor, a substantially greater proportion than were poor in 2000 (27%).
  • Women obtaining abortions in 2008 were less likely than their counterparts in 2000 to be married or to have a religious affiliation, and were more likely than the earlier cohort to have a college degree. These patterns largely reflect changes in the population of all women of reproductive age.
  • Thirty-three percent of women obtaining abortions lacked health insurance, 30% had private health insurance, 31% were covered by Medicaid and 5% had some other type of health insurance.
  • Although 66% of women having abortions had some type of health insurance, 57% paid for their abortion out of pocket. Among women with private health insurance, 63% paid out of pocket.