Characteristics of Induced Abortions Reported in Michigan

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


A total of 30,074 induced abortions were reported in Michigan in 2021, which was a 1.4 percent increase from the total of 29,669 reported in 2020 and a 38.7 percent decrease from the total of 49,098 reported in 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 94.5 percent of the induced abortions that occurred in Michigan in 2021. This proportion is about the same as what was observed in previous years. (See Table B-2.)

In 2021, less than half of the resident women receiving abortions had no previous induced abortions. In general, from 1985 through 2021, 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 26.5 percent in 2021. The proportion of women who had no previous induced abortion has generally declined, falling from 59.5 percent in 1985 to 48.4 percent in 2021.   (See Table B-2.)

In 2021, 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 Table B-2.)

67.5 percent of the Michigan resident women obtaining induced abortions in 2021 had a previous term pregnancy. Of the women who had a previous term pregnancy, 41.6 percent in 2021 had at least two or more term pregnancies.  (See Table 8.)

34.6 percent of Michigan residents receiving induced abortions were under 25 years of age, while 7.6 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 Table B-2.)

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

Other than self-referral, which was reported for 86.0 percent of all induced abortions in 2021, the most frequent source of referral for induced abortion services was a family member or a friend (11.3 percent), followed by a physician (1.3 percent) and other (0.7 percent). (See Table 7.)

Among all induced abortions reported in 2021 in Michigan (including both residents and non‑residents), 88.9 percent involved pregnancies of 12 weeks or less.  (See Table B-1.)

Medical (Non-Surgical) and Suction are the two most frequent procedures with 51.1 percent and 42.3 percent respectively among all induced abortions reported in Michigan. (See Table 18.)

Starting in 2014, the proportion of induced abortions performed in freestanding clinics increased from 25.1 percent (2013) to 43.9 percent (2014) and 88.6 percent in 2021. 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 1.2 percent in 2021. The change of location is almost certainly a result of Act 499 of 2012. The act placed new requirements of abortion providers. (See Table B-1.)

Most abortion reports indicate no immediate complications. In 2021 immediate complications were reported in 4 cases and in 21 cases between 2018-2020. The average three-year rate of 2018-2020 was 2.5 complications per 10,000 induced abortions performed. (See Table 22.)

In 2021, self-pay was indicated as the source of payment for most induced abortions (96.5 percent). (See Table 16.)

In 2021, ultrasound was the most common method reported for confirming the pregnancy (94.5 percent). (See Table 19.)

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. 132 reports of subsequent complications were submitted in 2021. (See Table 27.)

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 87 cases reported in 2021. (See Table 26.)

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 2021, 55.6 percent were black, 35.0 percent were white, 1.8 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, 1.6 percent as other, 1.6 percent were Multiracial and 0.6 percent were American Indian. In 2021, 2.8 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 2021 that were received by the Department of Health & Human Services on or before January 31, 2022.  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.