Written by Staff Writer
The number of abortions performed in the United States has increased for the first time in five years, according to new federal data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC said 839,857 abortions were performed in 2017, up from 816,659 in 2016. In 2013, there were 973,524 abortions.
“The abortion rate in 2017 was 19.4 per 1,000 women of reproductive age,” the CDC said. “This rate decreased by 0.7 per 1,000 from 2016, and is similar to the rate from 2001-2013.”
At the same time, the proportion of abortions funded by Medicaid decreased from 49.4% in 2016 to 47.2% in 2017, the CDC said. The Medicaid-funded share of abortions had been declining since 2006.
This increase comes a month after Oklahoma’s Right to Life legislative efforts were blocked by a federal judge who, in the ruling, contended the bill’s sponsors failed to provide substantial justification for their legislative intent.
The two measures, HB 1536 and HB 1264, were scheduled to take effect on August 15.
Ruthann Robson, a spokeswoman for Right to Life of Oklahoma, told CNN the group had not been given an explanation by the state health department about the delay.
“We expect that this delay will give the department sufficient time to explain their reasoning to the governor and state legislature,” Robson said.
The CDC’s report comes as Texas lawmakers debate additional legislation that would restrict funding for abortion. The state is also trying to overturn a federal court ruling that blocks certain parts of a law known as HB 2, which was enacted in 2013. HB 2 requires abortion providers to meet hospital-like outpatient surgical standards, including requirements for hospital admitting privileges and sedation equipment, as well as certain ultrasound requirements.
The ruling from the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals made temporary bans on part of the law permanent. Under that ruling, limited admitting privileges are not needed to take effect while lawsuits challenging those parts of the law proceed.
Blocking a doctor’s privileges to admit patients or providing privileges in this manner can, in effect, kill a doctor’s clinic by eliminating the access to those doctors and nurses to care for patients, said Dr. Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing the clinic.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.