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Journal of The Nurses Association of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, April 1972, Pilot Issue, pp. 17-27.


In 1969, a series of epidemiologic studies for abortion in the United States was begun at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Unwanted pregnancy is one of the most prevalent and potent public health problems in this and many other countries, and in almost all societies abortion is an inevitable concomitant of unwanted pregnancies.

In 1970 we concentrated primarily on three aspects of the rapidly changing phenomenon of abortion in the United States, attempting first to ascertain how many legal abortions are performed and where they are performed; second to describe the population of women who obtain legal abortion, and third to identify factors associated with morbidity and mortality resulting from induced abortion in this country.

Preliminary to any success in our effort to obtain an accurate case count of legal abortions, it was necessary to study abortion law and abortion reporting systems in each state. Table 1 lists each state in one of eight categories on the basis of major legal requirements for performance of abortion in that state, as of the end of 1970.

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