Characteristics of Induced Abortions Reported in Michigan

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


A total of 26,716 induced abortions were reported in Michigan in 2018, which was a 0.5 percent increase from the total of 26,594 reported in 2017 and a 45.6 percent decrease since 1987 (the year with the largest number of induced abortions).   (See Table A.)

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

Michigan residents received 95.7 percent of the induced abortions that occurred in Michigan in 2018. This proportion is similar to that which was observed in previous years.

In 2018, about half of the resident women receiving abortions had no previous induced abortions. In general, from 1985 through 2018, 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 23.3 percent in 2018. The proportion of women who had no previous induced abortion has generally declined, falling from 59.5 percent in 1985 to 50.9 percent in 2018.  

In 2018, 87.4 percent of the Michigan women who obtained an induced abortion were not married, a 5 percent increase from the 82.4 percent reported in 1985. (See Table B-2.)

About 65 percent of the resident women obtaining induced abortions in 2018 had a previous term pregnancy. Of the women who had a previous term pregnancy, over 38 percent in 2018 had at least two or more term pregnancies.  (See Table 8.)

The majority of Michigan residents receiving induced abortions (37.5 percent) were under 25 years of age, while 8.7 percent were less than 20 years old. These are much smaller proportions than the 64.6 and 30.6 percent observed, respectively, in 1985. (See Table B-2.)

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

Other than self-referral, which was reported for 88.2 percent of all induced abortions in 2018, the most frequent source of referral for induced abortion services was a family member or a friend (6.6 percent) and a physician (1.8 percent). (See Table 7.)

Among all induced abortions reported in 2018 in Michigan (including both residents and non‑residents), most involved pregnancies of 12 weeks or less (87 percent) and suction was the most frequent procedure at 54.5 percent.  (See Table 18.)

In 2013, 6,569 abortions were performed in freestanding clinics and 19,386 were perform in a physician's private office. By 2018, the number of abortions performed in freestanding clinics had risen to 24,405 abortions. During the same time period, the number of abortions performed in physician's offices declined to 734 abortions. In 2018, 91.3 percent of all abortions were performed in freestanding outpatient surgical facilities. The change in location of abortions is almost certainly a result of Act 499 of 2012. The act placed new requirements of abortion providers. The number of abortions performed in 2013 and in 2018 are about the same. (See Table B-1.)

Most abortion reports indicate no immediate complications. In 2018 immediate complications were reported in 8 cases and in 51 cases between 2015-2017. The average three-year rate of 2015-2017 was 6.4 complications per 10,000 induced abortions performed. (See Table 22.)

In 2018, self-pay was indicated as the source of payment for most induced abortions (94.5 percent). (See Table 16.)

In 2018, ultrasound was the most common method reported for confirming the pregnancy (91.1 percent). (See Table 19.)

Information on complications subsequent to an abortion was collected for the first time in 2001. This information is required to be reported on a separate reporting form by any physician who provided care to a woman suffering from a physical complication that was the result of an abortion occurring within seven days of the abortion. 67 reports of subsequent complications were submitted in 2018. (See Table 27.)

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 2018, 42 percent were white, 50.1 percent were black, 2.3 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander and about 3.7 percent were American Indian, multracial or of some other race. In 2018, 3.5 percent of the women obtaining an abortion were of Hispanic ancestry. (See Table 11.)

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 2018 that were received by the Department of Health & Human Services on or before January 31, 2019.  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.