More than 400 women have died from legal abortions since 1973, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that also shows the number of abortions fell by 5 percent in 2009.
The CDC reported Nov. 21 there were 403 deaths related to legal abortions through 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available, and the number of abortions in 2009 fell from 825,564 to 784,507, marking the biggest one-year decrease in at least a decade.
The Supreme Court legalized abortion effectively for any reason throughout pregnancy Jan. 22, 1973. The deaths related to legal abortions dwarfed those from illegal abortions during the same time period. A total of 56 women died from illegal abortions, according to the CDC.
The new report also showed 12 women died from legal abortions in 2008. That total doubled the number of deaths from legal abortion reported in 2007 and was the most since 1989, when 12 also were reported.
Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, applauded the five percent decrease in abortions in 2009 but said, “At the same time, we have to ask why the abortion-related deaths of 12 women are buried in the very last table of the [CDC] report and unremarked on in the news. The news from this report is that abortion harms women, as well as their babies.”