Comparing Presidents – Abortions

This post looks at abortions: the number of abortions, the rate of abortions per thousand women age 15 to 44, and the rate of abortions per thousand live births. Figures are broken down by Presidency. Why abortions? I think most people feel that fewer abortions is better than more abortions. Some want abortions made illegal altogether, but others think the way to go is, as Bill Clinton said, to keep abortions “safe, legal and rare.”

I’ve already had posts on abortion before. For instance, recently I noted that the likelihood of abortions goes down as real income rises. I also had an older post looking at abortions by Presidency. This one is different in two regards – one is that the data goes farther back, and the other is that I’ve since learned to put graphs up on blogger.

So here goes…

In summary form:

What’s going on? Well, once abortions became legal following Roe v. Wade, the rate skyrocketed. More doctors and clinics became providers. But it leveled off during the Reagan administration. Since then its dropped… a bit.

The data very incomplete (only 2 years of GW’s term) but even if we assume Reagan’s leveling off was part of some natural adjustment process in the series, the fact that neither GHW nor GW beats Clinton… its at least suggestive that Republican policies (making birth control harder to come by, focusing on abstinence only education, etc.) are not better at controlling the rate of abortion than Democratic policies.


Correction. Reader One Salient Oversight noticed that I had posted the same chart three times. I have since made the correction. Apologies.

Update. I forgot to note the data source… all data comes from the Census Bureau.