LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – In 2022, 2,550 lives were lost to abortion in Kentucky. That’s according to the annual abortion report published by the Office of Vital Statistics, a branch of the commonwealth’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

While 2022 was on track to yield the highest annual abortion total since the Cabinet started reporting data in 2017, the June 24, 2022, overturn of Roe v. Wade derailed that trajectory. With the implementation of Kentucky’s trigger abortion ban in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision, 2022 yielded the lowest annual total in six years of reports.

Over 99% of abortions occurred between January and July; there were only three reported between August and December.

Monthly records requested by Kentucky Today and provided by the Cabinet omitted 50 abortions. The annual report noted 403 abortions in January, while records provided on Feb. 21 reported 354; likewise, May included 378 abortions in the annual report, while a monthly report provided on June 30 noted 377. These discrepancies skewed reporting published by Kentucky Today in early 2022, when the annual total was estimated to be 2,500 based on records provided by the Cabinet. A correction was not issued to Kentucky Today prior to the Cabinet’s annual report.

Monthly Abortion Story Graphics (2021) - 2022 Abortions by Month

Around 82% of abortions were performed at EMW Women’s Surgical Center, while 439 pregnancies were terminated at Planned Parenthood. Both facilities are in Louisville. Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Chandler Medical Center each performed one abortion; University of Louisville performed two; and Norton Hospital reported three.

Women in their 20s accounted for nearly 60% of abortions (1,522) in Kentucky; those between 20 and 24 alone represented 32% of total abortions. Women in their 30s trailed the early 20s demographic by 3%, accounting for 743 abortions in 2022. Teens, including those under the age of 15, obtained 211 abortions; women 40 and older obtained 74.

Over 80% of women (2,131) were residents of Kentucky. The remaining 419 women who had abortions were residents of 19 other states, including Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio and Texas. One woman resided outside the U.S.

First trimester abortions were more common than second trimester abortions—2,267 performed at or before 12 weeks gestation versus 283 performed between 13- and 21-weeks gestation. Nearly 60% of abortions occurred between 6- and 8-weeks gestation; the earliest abortions were performed at 4 weeks gestation.

Most women had given birth at least once (1,692), with 6% having previously birthed between four and nine children. However, a slight majority of women (52%) had their first abortions in 2022. The remaining 48% had one or more abortions, with two women having 11 and 12 previous abortions, respectively. The Cabinet does not distinguish between spontaneous and induced abortions.

Only two abortions were deemed necessary by the attending physician, and none of the 2,550 pregnancy terminations provided the best chance for the unborn child’s survival. Under Kentucky’s abortion ban, pregnancies can be terminated to protect the life and health of the mother. The exception allows physicians to perform an abortion if he or she decides, within “reasonable medical judgment,” that the abortion is necessary to prevent death, a substantial risk of death or serious damage to a life-sustaining organ of the pregnant woman.

Medical and surgical abortions were neck-and-neck, with 1,256 abortions classified as “medical non-surgical” by the Cabinet. The remaining 1,294 abortions were surgical in nature—there were 1,176 suction curettage procedures, 117 dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures and one hysterotomy/hysterectomy.

White and Black women were the largest racial groups represented in the annual report (1,252 abortions and 935 abortions, respectively). Thirteen American Indian women obtained abortions. The remaining 13% of women were reported as “other” or “unknown.”

Other data points:

— Most women were unmarried (2,240)

— 51% had one or more years of college education

— There were two reported abortion complications, classified as “incomplete abortion or retained tissue”

— Non-Hispanic women accounted for 2,281 abortions; Hispanic women obtained 268 abortions in 2022

Under Kentucky law, the Cabinet is required to issue a public report on annual abortion data by September 30 each year. This year’s report was delayed by the Vital Statistics Branch in violation of KRS 213.101(7) and released the first week of October.

Read the full report at chfs.ky.gov.