Learn the Facts

What percentage of all abortions are because of “hard cases”?

The three most frequently cited “hard cases” in which some argue abortion might be justified are rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother. However, women rarely report that they are seeking an abortion for any of these reasons:

  • Rape: 0.3%
  • Incest: 0.03%
  • Protection of mother’s life: 0.1%

In other words, out of 1,000 women procuring abortion, only three cite rape as the primary reason, and only one cites protecting her life as the reason for the abortion. Out of 10,000 women procuring abortion, only three cite incest as a reason.

See also Shouldn’t abortion be legal in cases of rape and incest? and What if a woman needs an abortion to save her life?


Johnston, Wm. Robert. “Reasons given for having abortions in the United States.” Johnston’s Archive. Last modified January 18, 2016. http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html.

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