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Guttmacher Institute Abortion Provider Survey


The Guttmacher Institute's periodic surveys of abortion providers produce the most complete available data on the number and geographic distribution of abortions and abortion providers, the types of facilities offering services, and other aspects of abortion availability.

Guttmacher Institute
Data Years Available: 
14 surveys completed between 1974 and 2005.
Mode of Collection: 
Mail questionnaire, with an Internet response option.
Selected Content: 
Type of provider, number of abortions performed, minimum and maximum gestations for procedures, type of procedure, distance traveled by clients, and the proportion of provider services accounted for by abortions.
Population Covered: 
All identified abortion providers in the U.S., including physician offices, clinics, and hospitals.

For the 2005 survey, a current list of abortion providers was created by updating lists from previous surveys and identifying new providers from a variety of sources. Mailed questionnaires were sent to all providers; responses could be made by mail or through a secure website. Abortion data from state health statistics agencies were also obtained to supplement information obtained from providers. Intensive telephone follow-up of nonrespondents was carried out. Estimates were made for nonrespondents using a variety of techniques.

Response Rates and Sample Size: 

Of the 2,310 facilities included in the 2005 survey: 1,552 responded; health department data were used to estimate responses for 274 facilities; 47 had closed or were duplicates of other facilities; and estimates were made for 389 facilities. The status of the remaining 48 facilities could not be confirmed and they were not counted as providers.

Interpretation Issues: 

Some providers were not included in the survey, either because they were not included in the list of providers or they did not respond. It is expected that these providers perform fewer than 30 abortions per year and have minimal impact on the total number of abortions. Other shortcomings may include item nonresponse and inaccurate data reporting.


Jones RK et al: Abortion in the United States: Incidence and Access to Services, 2005. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2008, 40(1): 6-16.