Emails (excerpted), Barbara Levy, director of public policy, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology, July 3, 2013

11:59 am

Here are some numbers on other surgical procedures - In the Medicare population alone, there were over 1.8 million cataract surgeries performed in 2011.  There were 10 million wisdom teeth extractions in the US. This may be an analogous procedure to abortion - although actually more invasive - that it is typically performed in an office setting.  If we then consider all of the excision and repair of skin lesions, some of which are quite complex for cancers, again the numbers are in the millions.

I spoke with a contact at the American Gastrointestinal Association.  Their estimate for total numbers of endoscopies is 14 million annually of which 8-9 million are colonoscopies.

"Selby, Gardner (CMG-Austin)" 07/03/13 12:59 PM >>>

If you did not do so already, could you specify where you got each of your cited figures?


Separately, I wonder if it?s possible/reasonable to conclude that abortion is a most-common procedure among women, period?

(Levy) 12:11 pm

I added figures from the Medicare (CMS) database and the Medicaid numbers without additional numbers from private payers for cataract.  I did an internet search for the wisdom tooth extractions.

I do think it is reasonable to conclude that abortion is a common procedure among women.  The numbers provided by ACOG yesterday do not include outpatient procedures which account for perhaps 1/3 of hysterectomies, for example.  As I told you this morning, there is no database to query for us to get better numbers.  We certainly should not include the >500,000 medical abortions in the "surgical procedure" numbers.  They consist of taking medication without any instrumentation or intervention.  We can expect that women make up at least 50% of the population having colonoscopies, cataract surgery and wisdom tooth extraction so abortion would definitely not be the second most common surgical procedure among women.