Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

U.S. Abortion Rates Decline Again in '97

WebMD Health News

Jan. 6, 2000 (Atlanta) -- The rate of abortions in the U.S. fell in 1997 to the lowest level in nearly two decades. The CDC reports that the number of legal abortions in 1997 declined by 3% over the 1996 figure. "And the number reported to CDC for 1997 is the lowest number reported since 1978," says Lisa Koonin, MN, MPH, of the CDC.

Although the CDC says the figures are preliminary -- the final report will be issued this summer -- the continuation of the downward spiral is encouraging. "I think a reduction in abortions also reflects a reduction in unintended pregnancies," Koonin tells WebMD, "which is good news." Koonin is chief of surveillance in the division of reproductive health at the CDC.

According to the latest figures, which are for 1997, the abortion ratio was 305 legal induced abortions per 1,000 live births, down from 314 per 1,000 in 1996. As in the past, more than half the women obtaining abortions were under 25 years old. Also, most were white and unmarried.

In addition, for the first time, the report included figures from some states in which abortions were performed with drugs: 16 states reported 2,988 abortions induced by drugs. Previously, all states had only reported numbers, not methods.

Despite the decline, Koonin says there are still too many unplanned pregnancies, especially among the young. "Around 20% of the women in this country since 1992 who obtain abortions are teenagers," Koonin tells WebMD. "The 20% level for teenagers is remaining constant. That's way too high."

Even though the rate of abortions has decreased, there hasn't been a new boom in babies. The CDC reports that the birth rate increase in 1997 was a minuscule 0.3% "There's probably a number of complex factors that cause this," Koonin tells WebMD. "For one, we know there's been a reduction in unintended pregnancies in the country, and abortions largely represent an unintended or unplanned pregnancy. There's also been some changes in contraception practices, particularly among young men and women, in terms of increased use of condoms."

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
woman in bathtub
bp app on smartwatch and phone
estrogen gene

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
hot water bottle on stomach
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror