In 1965, Warner developed an interviewing procedure designed to eliminate evasive answer bias when questions of a sensitive nature are asked. He called the procedure ‘randomized response.’ The authors have been studying the technique for several years and, in this paper, are reporting some of the estimates of induced abortion in urban North Carolina using randomized response. Estimates of the proportion of women having an abortion during the past year among women 18–44 years of age are reported. For the study population indices were developed relating induced abortion to total conceptions for whites and nonwhites. The illegal abortion rate per 100 conceptions was estimated to be 14.9 for whites and 32.9 for nonwhites. Estimates of the proportion of women having an abortion during their lifetime among women 18 years old or over are also shown. Among ever married women, the proportion having an abortion during their lifetime declined as education increased. Estimates were high for women with 5 or more pregnancies. Most of the respondents stated that they were satisfied that the randomized response approach would not reveal their personal situation. Furthermore, they did not think their friends would truthfully respond to adirect question regarding abortion.

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