Reporting of Induced and Spontaneous Abortion in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth

Rachel K. Jones, Guttmacher Institute
Kathryn Kost, Guttmacher Institute

Population estimates of the incidence of pregnancy outcomes are widely used demographic measures, yet prior research demonstrates that both induced and spontaneous abortions are substantially underreported in surveys. We find that less than one-half (47%) of induced abortions performed in the United States between 1997 and 2001 were reported by women in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). Hispanic and low-income women were among the least likely to report their abortions, as were women in their 20s. Second-trimester abortions were more likely to be reported than first-trimester terminations. The levels of reported spontaneous abortion measured in the 2002 NSFG are consistent with the accumulated body of research, though substantially more pregnancy losses were reported on self-administered surveys than in face-to-face interviews. Our findings suggest that abortion reporting has not improved, and survey research involving pregnancy outcomes should be adjusted for unreported induced abortions.

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Presented in Session 75: Abortion I