Almost half of the abortions in the U.S. are performed because the woman doesn't want to be a single parent. According to Planned Parenthood, while around half of the women in the U.S. find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy at some point in their childbearing years, two out of five of those women decide to terminate the pregnancy.
In 2008, some 1.2 million abortions were carried out in the U.S. Of this number, .4 percent were abortions performed on teenagers under the age of 15; 6 percent were teens aged 15-17; 11 percent were teens aged 18 to 19; 33 percent were women aged 20 to 24; and women aged 25 to 29 had 24 percent of the abortions. White women accounted for 36 percent of the abortions, black women had 30 percent, Hispanics had 25 percent, and women of other races made up 9 percent of those having an abortion. Around 61 percent of the women who had an abortion had already given birth to a child or children.
Medical complications usually increase according to the length of time a woman waits before terminating the pregnancy, with risk of maternal death at one per million abortions when performed at or before eight weeks, rising to one per 29,000 abortions when performed between 16 to 20 weeks, and one death per 11,000 abortions when carried out at 21 or more weeks. Public funds are used to pay for abortions in 17 states, and Medicaid pays for abortions in 20 percent of cases.
To terminate an early pregnancy (before nine weeks gestation), an abortion pill named mifeprisdone is often used. It causes the uterine lining to break down, after which misoproston is given to empty out the uterus. If this type of drug-induced abortion doesn't work, an aspiration abortion is performed afterward.