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Abortion was legalized in Minnesota on Jan. 22, 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision struck down abortion laws nationwide. The annual number of abortions in the state peaked at about 19,000 in 1980 before beginning to decline. Currently, nearly 10,000 abortions are still performed in Minnesota each year. Click on the chart above for more Minnesota and U.S. abortion statistics (also available in Spanish).

A long-term decline

Each July the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issues a report that provides detailed information about abortion in Minnesota during the previous year. The MDH report for 2017 showed a total of 10,177 abortions, compared to 9,953 in 2016. But despite the slight increase, abortions have dropped in seven of the last 10 years—a decline of 26 percent just since 2006. Abortions are down 47 percent since 1980. The abortion rate (abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age) is the third lowest since 1973. In addition, only 248 abortions were performed on minor girls in 2017, the second smallest number since the state began recording minor abortions in 1975. Minor abortions have declined 89 percent since their 1980 peak of 2,327.

This long-term abortion drop is probably the result of many factors. Pro-life education, ultrasound images, pregnancy care centers, and pro-life legislation have all played important roles.

Causes for concern


The latest abortion statistics should also cause some concern:

Abortion is the leading cause of death in Minnesota
  • Planned Parenthood is cornering the abortion market. As overall abortions go down, Planned Parenthood's numbers and market share keep going up. The group performed a record 6,234 abortions in Minnesota in 2017, accounting for an all-time high 61 percent of all abortions in the state.

  • Abortions funded by taxpayers increased to 43 percent of all abortions in 2016, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services—the highest percentage ever. Government-funded abortion under Doe v. Gomez allows abortion practitioners to market "free" (state-funded) abortions to low-income women, increasing abortion numbers and revenue and compensating (in part) for the lessening demand for abortion.

  • Chemical (drug-induced) abortions are increasing, rising to an all-time high of 39 percent of all abortions in 2017. These abortions may be cost-effective for the abortion industry, but they pose greater health risks to women than first-trimester surgical abortions. In Minnesota, Planned Parenthood has remotely prescribed chemical "webcam abortions" to women in Rochester—the doctor never examines the women in person before dispensing the drugs.

  • Late-term abortions remain a problem, though they comprise only a small fraction of abortions. A total of 223 abortions took place at 20 weeks gestation or later in 2017; the number of dilation and evacuation (D & E) abortions, which involve dismembering the unborn child during the second trimester, was 696 (down from 861 in 2016).


These concerns are areas that MCCL has tried in recent years to address with legislation, and we will continue to do so. Many lives have been saved from abortion through the work of Minnesota's pro-life movement, but much, much more work remains to be done.

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