MDH releases most recent abortion data compiled prior to SCOTUS ruling overturning Roe

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The Minnesota Department of Health published its annual report on abortions in Minnesota on Friday. It includes data about how many were performed in Minnesota in 2021 and information about who got them.

The report’s publication this year comes amid increased fervor around the abortion debate, just a few weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization the constitutional right of an abortion under 1973’s Roe v. Wade.

Most abortions were banned in certain states immediately after the Dobbs decision. Other states, including Minnesota’s nearest neighbors, are likely to follow suit. Minnesota could become an island with abortion access in the Upper Midwest.

Although the report shows that many of the 2021 abortion statistics are continuations from trends seen in recent decades, such as the number of abortions performed and the demographics of those who get them, the report also indicates that some data points will be affected by Dobbs .


Minnesota Legalizes Abortion


Minnesota will likely remain a state in which abortion is legal, at least for the moment.

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in 1995 that the state Constitution protected the right of abortion in Doe V. Gomez. This decision also gave low-income women access to public assistance to obtain abortions. The Minnesota Supreme Court would have to overrule its previous ruling or amend the Constitution in order to remove this constitutional protection.

The Legislature regulates abortions in Minnesota. They are legal up to the point when fetal viability is reached. This is usually 24 weeks. Minnesota law also requires that an informed consent script be provided to anyone seeking abortion. There is also a waiting period of 24 hours. Both parents must be notified if minors request abortions. Minnesota law requires that abortions be performed only by doctors.

The outcome of the November elections could determine whether the laws that govern abortion will be up for discussion. Tim Walz says that Tim Walz and all 201 legislators will be up for reelection.

Walz claims abortion will be available under his leadership. However, Scott Jensen (GOP-endorsed) has advocated previously for a ban on abortion, with possible exceptions, such as when the mother’s life or health is at risk. Jensen made a statement acknowledging the Minnesota court’s decision protecting abortion after Roe was overturned.


Consistent with the number of abortions in recent years, but could rise


Friday’s report shows that Minnesota has had 10,136 abortions in 2021. It also shows that the abortion rate is fairly consistent with previous years. The state has performed an average of 10,105 abortions each year over the past decade, a decrease from the average of almost 17,700 per year during the 1980s.

Data also shows a decline in abortions in Minnesota over the long-term — which accounts for population growth — from 17.2 abortions per 1000 female residents ages 15 to 45 to 8.5 last. This is slightly higher than the 2020 rate of 7.6 for female residents 15-44.


Since the 1980s, Minnesota’s residents have performed a steady number of abortions. They have accounted for between 89 percent and 93 per cent.

Minnesota 1980-2021: Induced abortion rate
Note: The rate is for 1,000 Minnesota female residents between the ages of 15 and 44. Because the 2021 population wasn’t available, the 2021 rate was calculated using 2020 population.
Source: Minnesota Department of Health


Minnesota residents accounted for 9127 of the 10136 Minnesota abortion patients by 2021. Wisconsin was the next most popular state of residence with 634 patients, followed by South Dakota (158), North Dakota (84) and Iowa (56), and Michigan (20). The majority of the patients came from states that were not adjacent to Minnesota.

This could change. Minnesota abortion providers expect an increase in out-of-state women seeking abortions following Dobbs. North Dakota and South Dakota have so called trigger laws that prohibit abortions in the wake Roe. Wisconsin has an 18th-century abortion ban which the state’s attorney general is trying to block. Guttmacher Institute, an institute for pro-choice research, predicts that Wisconsin and Iowa will soon restrict abortion.

Emily Bisek, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, told NPR last Wednesday that Planned Parenthood North Central States (the largest provider of abortion in Minnesota) expects a 10 percent-25 percent increase in abortions in Minnesota due to other states restricting abortion after Dobbs.


span style=”font weight: 400 ” She told MinnPost that more and more states will ban abortion. “That will affect the care that states such as Minnesota, which have protection, will be able provide.”


It is not yet clear what the future demand for abortions in Minnesota will look like. Or how much will be coming from neighboring states or non-neighboring countries.


Demographics

The annual state’s abortion report sheds light on who are getting abortions in Minnesota. It shows that most of the patients are adults and have children. It also shows that many Minnesotans are Black, Hispanic and Asian.


Minnesota’s most common abortion patient in 2021 was a group of people in their 20s and 30-year-olds.

Age of those who had abortions in 2021
Source: Minnesota Department of Health Center for Health Statistics


Sixty-five percent of women who had an abortion in 2021 had at least one live birth, and 41% had had one or two previous abortions.


Like in previous years, abortions were more common among Black, Hispanic and Asian women than for those of other ethnicities.

Minnesota residents who have had an abortion and all Minnesotans since 2021, race and ethnicity
Notice: Data on total state population races and ethnicities are available starting in 2020.
Source: Minnesota Department of Health Center for Health Statistics and Minnesota Compass


The most common reason for an abortion was not wanting to have children. Next came economic reasons, emotional and physical health.

Patients’ reasons for aborting
Note: Patients can choose from multiple options. *”Other stated reasons” could include “Relationship problems, including abuse or separation or extra-marital affairs,” (15 responses);”Not ready or prepared to have a child or children at this time” (125);”Physical or psychological health issues or concerns” (63);”Education and career and employment issues” (20);”COVID-19/Pandemic (1) and Other (50).
Source: Minnesota Department of Health Center for Health Statistics


Half of Minnesota residents received public assistance to cover the procedure. 22% had private coverage, and 27% were self-paid.


Abortion methods


These data show a picture of Minnesota’s abortion procedures. Most are performed within the first 8 weeks after a woman is induced with medication.


The majority of abortions, 69 percent, were performed at gestational ages below 8 weeks. Eighty-eight% of all abortions in 2021 occurred within the first trimester.

Minnesota 2021: Estimated fetal gestational time upon abortion
Source: Minnesota Department of Health Center for Health Statistics


Minnesota had 39% of all abortions that were performed by surgical procedures, and 61% were performed using medication.

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