Arizona’s Botched Abortions: At Least 9 Babies Born Alive in 2021

Arizona’s Botched Abortions: At Least 9 Babies Born Alive in 2021

By Corinne Murdock |

Out of the nearly 14,000 abortions performed in 2021, at least nine babies were born alive following a botched procedure.

The data comes from the Arizona Department of Health’s (AZDHS) latest report on abortions in the state for 2021. 2020 had the exact same number of babies born alive following a botched abortion. 

AZDHS issued its latest report the day after the Arizona Appeals Court ruled that the state’s near-total, pre-statehood abortion ban couldn’t be used to prosecute abortionists. The court upheld the law codified last March, which allows abortions up to 15 weeks.

State reporting on botched abortions resulting in live deliveries went into effect in August 2017. That year, the state reported at least 10 abortions that resulted in the baby delivered alive between August and December 2017. In 2018, there were 12. Then in 2019, there were 15. 

The number of abortions have fluctuated slightly over the years, marking a general upward trend since 2010, when there were more abortions performed that year than in any other year since 2004: over 11,400 abortions. 

2010 was the year the state began tracking abortions, due to a newly passed law at the time. The all-time high for abortions on record in one year occurred in 2011, though this year came closer to meeting that record.

In 2011, there were over 14,400 abortions; 2012, over 13,300; 2013, over 13,400; 2014, about 12,900; 2015, over 12,600; 2016, 13,300; 2017, over 12,500; 2018, over 12,400; 2019, over 13,000; and in 2020, over 13,200.

99 percent of the 2021 abortions were administered to Arizonans. 

The greatest demographic of women receiving abortions were aged 20 to 24 years old (nearly 31 percent), followed by 25 to 29 years old (27 percent), 30 to 34 years old (18.6 percent), 35 to 39 years old (10 percent), 18 to 19 years old (seven percent), 40 to 44 years old (three percent), and 15 to 17 years old (nearly two percent). 


There were 19 total abortions administered to girls under the age of 15. According to AZDHS data, that rate declined by over 63 percent since 2012, and by over 11 percent since 2020. Likewise, teen girls aged 15 to 19 declined in abortion rates by nearly 16 percent since 2012, but did increase by six percent since 2020.

There were 31 abortions administered to women at or over the age of 45. 

In 2021, about 15 percent of those who obtained abortions were married. That percentage has remained stagnant  over the years, reaching a brief high of 17 percent in 2012 but ultimately averaging at about 14 percent. Unmarried women have generally made up 79 to 87 percent of abortion patients.

The largest portion of missing data concerned the educational status of the women receiving abortions. About 38 percent of that data was missing. 

The following were the top-five clinics that performed the most abortions in 2021, in order: Camelback Family Planning, nearly 4,000; Family Planning Associates Medical Group, over 3,500; Planned Parenthood Tempe Health Center, nearly 1,600; Planned Parenthood Glendale Health Center, nearly 1,200; and Desert Star Family Planning, over 870. The state listed 17 facilities that performed abortions. 

In addition to requiring abortion providers to report on botched abortions that result in a live birth, the state requires abortionists to use “all available means and medical skills [to] promote, preserve, and maintain the life” of the baby.

Only three abortions were partially or fully paid for using state monies through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS). There weren’t any abortions paid for using state monies in 2020. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to