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2021 saw most abortions in Indiana in 10 years

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The state’s annual abortion report shows most women who ended a pregnancy did so early.

Data from the Indiana Department of Health shows 8,414 women obtained abortions in Indiana during 2021. Of those 465 came from out of state. All but 105 of those abortions came before the pregnancy hit the 14-week mark, and more than half of those were medical abortions.

It was the highest number of abortions performed in the state since 2011.

The women who sought abortions were overwhelmingly unmarried, 86%. More than half were in their 20s, and 234 were younger than 18. About 46% had a high school diploma or GED or less, and nearly two-thirds already had at least one child.

Jody Madeira, a professor of law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, studies reproductive rights. She says the numbers show women will continue to seek abortions regardless of whether they are legal.

She said abortion numbers a year from now will depend on what state lawmakers enact when they gather July 25 for a special session.

Mississippi’s abortion law, which sparked the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, bans abortions after 15 weeks, while other states such as Ohio and Texas prohibit abortions after six weeks.

Madeira said simply carrying a child to term and then putting it up for adoption is not as simple as it sounds. She said adoption is expensive and does not guarantee a better future.

“It’s by no means a sure bet that a woman is willing to give up a child that she is biologically related to,” she said. “Rather, it’s a guarantee that they are bringing a child into the world that has an uncertain future. They will bring a child into the world that might experience rejection, that might go to a foster care family who might abuse or kill that child.”

Mike Fichter, president of Indiana Right to Life, issued a statement that says the fact that abortions in Indiana had hit a 10-year high made legislative action all the more urgent. “It’s heartbreaking to see 658 more babies aborted in Indiana in 2021 versus 2020 — and really stresses the urgency for Hoosiers to come together with love and compassion in the special session to protect unborn babies and support and care for their mothers.”

Fichter called the use of medication-assisted abortions particularly dangerous but the state’s numbers don’t back up that claim. Just 49 of the women who obtained an abortion in Indiana in 2021 reported complications, the most common being retention of product. Also, no maternal deaths were reported.