Abortion-Related Mortality in the United States: 1998-2010

Suzanne Zane, Andreea A. Creanga, Cynthia J. Berg, Karen Pazol, Danielle B. Suchdev, Denise J. Jamieson, William M. Callaghan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine characteristics and causes of legal induced abortion-related deaths in the United States between 1998 and 2010. METHODS: Abortion-related deaths were identified through the national Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System with enhanced case-finding. We calculated the abortion mortality rate by race, maternal age, and gestational age and the distribution of causes of death by gestational age and procedure. RESULTS: During the period from 1998-2010, of approximately 16.1 million abortion procedures, 108 women died, for a mortality rate of 0.7 deaths per 100,000 procedures overall, 0.4 deaths for non-Hispanic white women, 0.5 deaths for Hispanic women, and 1.1 deaths for black women. The mortality rate increased with gestational age, from 0.3 to 6.7 deaths for procedures performed at 8 weeks or less and at 18 weeks or greater, respectively. A majority of abortion-related deaths at 13 weeks of gestation or less were associated with anesthesia complications and infection, whereas a majority of abortion-related deaths at more than 13 weeks of gestation were associated with infection and hemorrhage. In 20 of the 108 cases, the abortion was performed as a result of a severe medical condition where continuation of the pregnancy threatened the woman's life. CONCLUSION: Deaths associated with legal induced abortion continue to be rare events - less than 1 per 100,000 procedures. Primary prevention of unintended pregnancy, including those in women with serious pre-existing medical conditions, and increased access to abortion services at early gestational ages may help to further decrease abortion-related mortality in the United States. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-265
Number of pages8
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Volume126
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 23 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Abortion-Related Mortality in the United States: 1998-2010'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this