Characteristics of Induced Abortions Reported in Michigan

Division for Vital Records & Health Statistics
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services

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A total of 29,669 induced abortions were reported in Michigan in 2020, which was an 8.5 percent increase from the total of 27,339 reported in 2019 and a 39.6 percent decrease since 1987 (the year with the largest number of induced abortions).   (See Number, Ratio and Rate of Reported Induced Abortions Occurring in Michigan, 1982 - 2020.)

Figure 1
Figure 1: Rates of Abortions for Michigan Occurrences, Per 1,000 Women

Michigan residents received 94.5 percent of the induced abortions that occurred in Michigan in 2020. This proportion decreased by 0.2 percent to that which was observed in previous years. (See Characteristics of Reported Induced Abortions in Michigan, 1980 - 2020.)

In 2020, over half of the resident women receiving abortions had no previous induced abortions. In general, from 1985 through 2020, a gradual increase has been observed with the proportion of women reporting two or more induced abortions, going from 14.6 percent in 1985 to 23.7 percent in 2020. The proportion of women who had no previous induced abortion has generally declined, falling from 59.5 percent in 1985 to 51.2 percent in 2020.   (See Characteristics of Reported Induced Abortions in Michigan, 1980 - 2020.)

In 2020, 85.1 percent of the Michigan women who obtained an induced abortion were not married, a 2.7 percent increase from the 82.4 percent reported in 1985. (See Characteristics of Reported Induced Abortions in Michigan, 1980 - 2020.)

66.9 percent of the Michigan resident women obtaining induced abortions in 2020 had a previous term pregnancy. Of the women who had a previous term pregnancy, 40.7 percent in 2020 had at least two or more term pregnancies.  (See Number of Reported Induced Abortions by the Number of Previous Pregnancies Carried to Term and Marital Status, Michigan Residents, 2020.)

36.7 percent of Michigan residents receiving induced abortions were under 25 years of age, while 8.3 percent were younger than 20 years old. These are much smaller proportions than the 64.6 and 30.6 percent observed, respectively, in 1985. (See Characteristics of Reported Induced Abortions, 1985 - 2020.)

Figure 2
Figure 2: Age-specific Abortion Rates, Per 1,000 Women

Other than self-referral, which was reported for 87.7 percent of all induced abortions in 2020, the most frequent source of referral for induced abortion services was a family member or a friend (10 percent), followed by a physician (1.2 percent) and other (0.7 percent). (See Number of Reported Induced Abortions by Source of Referral and Age of Woman, 2020.)

Among all induced abortions reported in 2020 in Michigan (including both residents and non‑residents), 89 percent involved pregnancies of 12 weeks or less.  (See Characteristics of Reported Induced Abortions, Michigan Occurrences, 1985-2020.)

Medical (Non-Surgical) and Suction are the two most frequent procedures with 51.7 percent and 41.5 percent respectively among all induced abortions reported in Michigan. (See Number of Reported Induced Abortions by Weeks of Gestation and Principal Procedure, Michigan Occurrences, 2020.)

Starting in 2014, the proportion of induced abortions performed in freestanding clinics increased from 25.1 percent (2013) to 43.9 percent (2014) and 89.3 percent in 2020. In the meantime, the proportion of induced abortions performed in a physician's office decreased from 74.2 percent (2013) to 55.4 percent (2014) and 3.1 percent in 2020. The change of location is almost certainly a result of Act 499 of 2012. The act placed new requirements of abortion providers. (See Characteristics of Reported Induced Abortions, 1985-2020.)

Most abortion reports indicate no immediate complications. In 2020 immediate complications were reported in 7 cases and in 28 cases between 2017-2019. The average three-year rate of 2017-2019 was 3.5 complications per 10,000 induced abortions performed. (See Number and Percent of Reported Induced Abortions with Any Mention of Immediate Complication by Type of Immediate Complication, Michigan Occurrences, 2020.)

In 2020, self-pay was indicated as the source of payment for most induced abortions (95.7 percent). (See Number of Reported Induced Abortions by the Source of Payment and Age of Woman, Michigan Residents, 2020.)

In 2020, ultrasound was the most common method reported for confirming the pregnancy (92.7 percent). (See Number of Reported Induced Abortions by Weeks of Gestation and Method to Confirm Pregnancy, Michigan Occurrences, 2020.)

Information on complications subsequent to an abortion were collected for the first time in 2000. MCL 333.2837 established a separate reporting form for any physician providing care to a woman suffering from a physical complication resulting from an abortion occurring within seven days of the abortion. 75 reports of subsequent complications were submitted in 2020. (See Number of Reported Induced Abortions with Any Mention of Subsequent Complication by Selected Characteristics, Michigan Occurrences, 2020.)

A failed abortion is defined as an abortion attempt that results in an ongoing pregnancy after an attempt at either surgical or medical abortion. In recent years, the number of failed abortions grew to be the most common subsequent complication reported. Starting in 2020, "failed abortion" is listed as an independent category. There are 29 cases reported in 2020. (See Number and Rate of Reported Induced Abortions with Any Mention of Subsequent Complication by Type of Subsequent Complication, Michigan Occurrences, 2020.)

Information on the race of the woman obtaining an induced abortion was collected for the first time in 2003. In 2011, Hispanic ancestry was first collected. Of the Michigan residents receiving abortions in 2020, 36.7 percent were white, 53 percent were black, 1.9 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, 1.8 percent as other, 1.6 percent were Multiracial and 0.6 percent were American Indian. In 2020, 3.4 percent of the women obtaining an abortion were of Hispanic ancestry. (See Number of Reported Induced Abortions by Race of Woman, Michigan Residents, 2020.)

Figure 3
Figure 3: Number of Abortions by Race or Hispanic Ancestry of Women



Technical Notes

The state of Michigan has established a mandatory reporting system for induced abortions (MCL 333.2835). According to this law, abortion reports are not allowed to contain any common identifiers that would make it possible to identify, in any manner or under any circumstances, an individual who obtained or seeks to obtain an abortion.  Abortion reports are prepared and submitted to the Department of Health & Human Services by the physician who performs the abortion. The reports are not legal records; they are used only to produce statistical data for health and medical purposes. The department is specifically mandated to prepare aggregated statistics of individual abortion reports on an annual basis.

The tables in this report are based on induced abortion reports for 2020 that were received by the Department of Health & Human Services on or before January 31, 2021.  Definitions of the terms used are given in the footnotes of the individual tables, where necessary.

Important Note: Beginning in 2016, the Michigan Division for Vital Records & Health Statistics changed the standard for gestational age from a calculation based on the last menstrual period, to the obstetric/clinical estimate of gestational age.  Abortion statistics based on the obstetric estimate are more comparable to abortion statistics provided by the NCHS and are consistent with the CDC's Induced Termination of Pregnancy guidelines.