Q&A – How many Abortions Would Be Impacted by Florida’s 6-week limit?

Q&A of the Day – How many Abortions Would Be Impacted by Florida’s proposed 6-week limit?  

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.   

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com  

Social: @brianmuddradio    

iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.    

Today’s Entry: Hi Brian, when Florida was considering a 15-week limit last year you informed us as to the percentage of abortions which would be impacted, which was very small. Lori Berman and others have said most abortions would be impacted if the six-week limit would become law. Is that true? 

Bottom Line: Yes, you’re right in remembering last year’s 15-week limit on abortions impacted a relatively small number of them. And yes, Lori Berman is right in suggesting most abortions would be impacted by Florida’s proposed 6-week limit, which passed the state senate and awaits action in the house. Should Florida adopt a six-week limit on abortions, with exceptions, which appears highly likely – here's the breakdown of the impact of the policy change. 

Abortions are legally considered standard medical procedures; thus, one’s medical records are confidential and there’s no federal reporting requirement of patients or medical service providers. To the extent we’re able to obtain abortion data, it’s through voluntary surveys. There are two surveys conducted regularly. One by the CDC and the other by the Guttmacher Institute. For the purpose of determining when abortions take place the CDC’s data is the most detailed.  

The CDC conducts annual abortion surveys which rely on voluntary reporting from state health agencies and Washington D.C.’s health agency. Notably, California and New Hampshire haven’t participated with the CDC since 1998, however Florida does so we’re able to determine what the approximate impact of the policy will be. In the most recent annual survey 69,902 abortions were known to have taken place. Notably, minorities in Florida accounted for the majority of abortions performed. The breakout by race is as follows: 

  • 38% Black 
  • 30% White 
  • 29% Hispanic 
  • 4% All other races 

Just 17% of Florida’s population is Black, making Blacks 2.2 times more likely to obtain abortions. Likewise, the Hispanic population is a smaller percentage than the Hispanic share of abortions in Florida. Therefore, the greatest impact of the policy change is in minority communities. As for when abortions take place... 

  • 34%: <6 weeks 
  • 18%: 7th week 
  • 13%: 8th week 
  • 30.3% 9th-15th weeks 

Florida’s current law, with a 15-week limit on abortions in most circumstances, only impacted 4.7% of all abortions performed due to the vast majority occurring prior to 15 weeks. That dynamic is obviously set to shift significantly should the 6-week policy become law – with close to two-thirds of all abortions currently performed in Florida becoming illegal. That means there will be approximately 46,000 fewer abortions performed in Florida annually. And given the demographics of Florida’s abortions, there’s no policy which is more supportive of Black lives than this proposed limitation on abortions. As always there are two sides to stories and one side to facts. These are the facts.  

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