A significant number of pregnant people need access to abortion care after the first trimester (after 12 weeks of pregnancy) for many different reasons.
While later abortions represent a small percentage of all abortions performed in the U.S., over 42,700 clients each year have abortions at 14-20 weeks gestation, and over 6,100 pregnant people need abortions at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Yet, there are no abortion services at all in 89% of U.S. counties, and the number of facilities offering later abortions is even more limited. The vast majority of abortions are performed outside of hospitals at freestanding clinics, although hospitals are more likely than clinics to offer abortion services after 20 weeks of pregnancy; according to the 2005 survey of abortion providers conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, the majority of abortions between 17 and 24 weeks are performed in a few freestanding abortion clinics.
A significant number of pregnant people need access to abortion care after the first trimester (after 12 weeks of pregnancy) for many different reasons. Some people do not realize that they are pregnant until later in their pregnancy, need more time to decide what to do about an unintended pregnancy, or experience barriers in accessing care because they cannot easily find a provider. For others, the time needed to raise the money to pay for the procedure, or make arrangements to travel to a provider in a distant location delays them into the second trimester. In addition, some clients seek abortions later in pregnancy after learning about a genetic or health condition in the fetus, many of which are not diagnosed until after the first trimester.
For more information about why pregnant people seek later abortions, see our fact sheet.