Expert Warns Against Restrictions as Medication Abortions Gain Popularity

Medication Abortions Gain Popularity
Medication Abortions Gain Popularity. Credit | Getty images

United States – The Supreme Court countermand Roe v. Wade in June 2022. Due to this, approximately more than twelve lakh abortions are performed each year, and two-thirds of these cases involve medication abortions.

New Data from Guttmacher Institute

This data is provided by a new report of the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that conducts research and provides policy recommendations concerning sexual and reproductive health and, which also favors the termination of pregnancies.

The estimated results of 1,026,690 abortions performed via the United States healthcare system, which is formally operated in 2023 — the first year the Dobbs norm was applied that led some states to ban the procedure, as reported by HealthDay.

That’s an increase of 10% from 2020, and the most abortions recorded in the U.S. since 2011, is part of the report. In 2023, they subsequently discovered that there were 15.7 abortions/1,000 women of reproductive age.

Over half of the rise in medication abortions was merely based on their regular growth–from 53% of all cases in 2020 to 63% by 2023, the institute said. Specifically, regarding medication abortions, healthcare systems recorded 642,700 clients.

An abortion procedure with medication will usually entail taking two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, which clears a pregnancy in the first weeks.

Access to Medication Abortion

Visual Representation. Credit | Getty images

“Improved access to medication abortion is a positive development, but it is not a panacea,” Rachel Jones, Guttmacher principal research scientist, said in a statement from the institute. “As abortion restrictions proliferate post-Dobbs, medication abortion may be the most viable option — or the only option — for some people, even if they would have preferred in-person procedural care.”

State-Level Trends

The research results revealed that in most of the states which did not have an abortion ban, there was a high increase in the number of abortion cases. Abortions increased by roughly 25% during those three years (2020-2023) in the states that didn’t establish complete bans on abortion, the report stated.

“The sharpest increases were seen in states bordering ban states, where abortions increased by 37% from 2020 to 2023,” according to the Guttmacher statement.

Policy Implications

This data precedes scheduled oral arguments, which the US Supreme Court should hear on March 26th, concerning the continued access to mifepristone.

“As our latest data emphasize, more than three out of five abortion patients in the United States use medication abortion,” Amy Friedrich-Karnik, director of federal policy at the institute, said in the statement. “Reinstating outdated and medically unnecessary restrictions on the provision of mifepristone would negatively impact people’s lives and decrease abortion access across the country.”

In 2021, the US FDA lifted some access restrictions, allowing patients to receive mifepristone by mail rather than in person, as reported by HealthDay.

The most up-to-date data is obtained from Guttmacher’s Monthly Abortion Provision Study, which tracks “abortions conducted at physical healthcare facilities, as well as medication abortions provided through telehealth and virtual providers operating within the United States,” as per the institute.