Racial disparity in years of potential life lost to induced abortions


The magnitude of the overall prevalence and racial disparity in induced abortion suggests that it is a major influence on the demographic and socioeconomic composition of the population of the United States (US). However, the years of potential lives averted by induced abortion have not been systematically studied. We applied race-specific intra-uterine death estimates to the induced abortions occurring to non-Hispanic (NH) white and non-Hispanic (NH) black women in the US state of North Carolina in 2008. The resultant estimate of births averted by induced abortion was used to project years of potential life lost. All-cause detailed mortality data were used to compare induced abortion with other contributing causes of years of potential life lost before age 75 (YPLL 75). For NH whites, induced abortions in 2008 contributed 59% of total YPLL 75, and 1.5 times the total YPLL 75 from all other causes combined. For NH blacks, induced abortions in 2008 contributed 76% of total YPLL 75 and 3.2 times the total YPLL 75 from all other causes combined. Induced abortion is the overwhelmingly predominant contributing cause of preventable potential lives lost in the North Carolina population, and NH blacks are disproportionately affected.

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Studnicki, J. , MacKinnon, S. and Fisher, J. (2014) Racial disparity in years of potential life lost to induced abortions. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4, 8-12. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2014.41002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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