Abortion By The Numbers

What's the reality

1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime, and every story is different. The reality of abortion in women’s lives is far more complex than the political rhetoric. These are times when women are facing life- altering consequences, times when they are confronting serious health issues and times of great courage.
When Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationally in 1973, low-income women who sought abortions had federal funds available to them through Medicaid. Medicaid is a joint federal-state health insurance program for low income people who meet certain eligibility criteria. Women make up 68% of Medicaid enrollees, including over 9 million reproductive-aged women. They are more likely to be members of racial or ethnic minorities and in fair or poor health.
On September 30, 1976, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment, which banned federal funding for abortion except in the narrow cases where a woman is a survivor of rape or incest or when her life is endangered. Although not a law, the amendment continues to be re-enacted each year on appropriation bills as part of the federal budget. Since then, millions of low-income women on Medicaid have been denied access to abortion.
The challenge for pro-choice supporters is to address the absence of adequate federal and state financial support for poor women who have chosen to have abortions and simply don’t have the money.                   
  • $300 to over $3000 – Cost range of abortion procedures
  • $470 – Average full price of a first trimester abortion in 2009.
  • $198 – Average amount of additional hidden costs of an abortion includes – lost wages – time off to travel to another location – cost of transportation – childcare expenses – lodging due to 24 to 72 hour restrictions.
  • 50% – Percentage of respondents that had to get outside help (male partners, family members, abortion funds).
  • 42% – Percentage of women seeking abortions that have income levels below the federal poverty line.
  • 46% –Percentage of insured women who did not use their insurance due to lack of coverage for abortion or because they believed their insurance did not cover it.
  • 10% –Percentage who opted not to use their insurance in favor of increased anonymity. Includes low-income women on Medicaid who fail to apply due to the stigmatizing and shaming inherent in the process of having to beg for money to access a legal medical procedure.
  • 86% – percentage of women who said they felt “grateful” after receiving financial help from an abortion fund. Substantial minorities characterized the help as “life saving.


from Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood

Post-abortion follow-up makes it possible for the woman to access reliable contraception based on her medical  history and to be given information about additional support systems.