From 44% in 2019, 54% of U.S. abortions were performed by pills in 2020.
The Guttmacher Institute is a research organization that supports abortion rights. These preliminary numbers are derived from them. This group contacts providers to collect more detailed abortion data than the U.S. government.
Since 2000, when the Food and Drug Administration approved Mifepristone, the main medication used to induce abortions, the use of abortion pills has increased.
The increase is not surprising, especially during COVID," Dr. MarjiGold, a New York City family medicine physician and an abortion provider, said. According to her, patients who seek abortions at her clinic prefer pills to the medical procedure.
Telemedicine was a major trend after the pandemic. The FDA also allowed for abortion to be sent to patients so they could avoid in-person visits. Rachel Jones, Guttmacher researcher, believes that these changes may have contributed to an increase in usage.
The FDA made this change permanent in December 2013. This means that millions of women can now get prescriptions online and then receive their pills by mail. This led to increased efforts by abortion opponents in seeking additional restrictions through state legislatures on medication abortions.
Mifepristone blocks the hormone that allows pregnancy to continue. Misoprostol is added one or two days later. This drug causes cramping and empties the womb. Although the combination is approved for use in the first 10 weeks, some health care providers may offer it in the second. This is called off-label.
According to Guttmacher's report, 16 states have so far proposed restrictions or bans on the use of medication abortion.
The report notes that 32 states require doctors to prescribe medication abortions, even though other health care professionals, including physician assistants, can prescribe other medications. The report states that three states, Arizona, Arkansas, and Texas prohibit the mailing of abortion pills to patients.
The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 73 million abortions occur each year. In 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 630,000 abortions, although data from certain states is not available. Guttmacher's 2017 last comprehensive abortion report was released. The data presented Thursday is from an update that will be available later in the year.
Global data on the rates of medication abortions versus surgical abortions is limited. Data from England and Wales shows that medication abortions have outpaced surgery abortions for approximately 10 years.