Few issues divide Americans more severely than abortion. Even accounting for changes in the nation's political climate over time, polling numbers consistently show a close to even split in the percent of the population who identify as pro-life or pro-choice. And given the variation in abortion laws across the 50 states, that divide has a definite geographic dimension as well.
With the help of my Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) colleagues Charlotta Mellander and Zara Matheson, I took a detailed look at abortion rates across the 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as the economic, cultural, and political factors that bear on them. We used two systematic data sets, one from a report released in late 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and another from a 2011 paper from the Guttmacher Institute, the pro-choice women's reproductive health advocacy organization. These data cover both where abortions occurred and the states of residence of the women who obtained them.