According to a new report by the Guttmacher Institute, more than half of the abortions performed in the United States are estimated to be done by medication, otherwise known as abortion pills.
“Specifically, preliminary data from the Guttmacher Institute’s periodic census of all known abortion providers show that in 2020, medication abortion accounted for 54% of US abortions. That year is the first time medication abortion crossed the threshold to become the majority of all abortions and it is a significant jump from 39% in 2017, when Guttmacher last reported these data,” the report noted.
The preliminary numbers come from about 75% of U.S. clinics that “provided abortion care in 2020” and the 54% amount is an estimate from preliminary findings of continuing gathering of data. The institute noted that “final estimates will be released in late 2022 and the proportion for medication abortion use is not expected to fall below 50%.”
Abortion pills have various restrictions in states across the country as legislatures push back against the use of such procedures.
“In 32 states, clinicians who administer medication abortion are required to be physicians, even though medical professionals with different titles and specialties are otherwise allowed to prescribe medications, oversee treatments and manage patients’ health,” it noted.
Texas does not allow the use of medication abortion beginning at seven weeks of pregnancy, and Indiana prohibits it at ten weeks. Nineteen states require the clinician giving the abortion pills to be physically present when the pills are administered. Three states reportedly ban sending the pills through the mail to patients and three additional states have had their bans stopped by courts.
As of February 22, Guttmacher reported that “16 state legislatures have introduced bans or restrictions on medication abortion, including legislation that would ban the use of medication abortion in seven states (Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming), specifically prohibit the mailing of abortion pills in five states (Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts and Nebraska) and bar the use of telehealth to provide medication abortion in eight states (Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Tennessee).”
The report also pointed out how the use of abortion pills will likely be even a larger factor in the future due to the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling which could severely undercut the precedent established by Roe v. Wade and other decisions.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case out of Mississippi over a law that doesn’t allow abortions after fifteen weeks of pregnancy. The high court could choose to uphold the Mississippi law, cutting away at the precedent established by Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade. The Justices could also decide to overturn Roe entirely or to strike down the law. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the decisions regarding abortion would be returned to the states rather than made legal on a broad scale across the country.
As The Daily Wire reported last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed a restriction from the distribution of the abortion pill, allowing it to be given out in different settings rather than the method by which it has been issued in the past. The new development will allow the medication abortion to be sent through the mail and even potentially purchased or acquired online.
Pro-life advocates have pointed out the dangers of medication abortion and stressed the importance of such a rule that requires women to be examined in person by a medical professional prior to undergoing this method of abortion. In addition, many have pointed out the high opportunity for abuse if human traffickers or abusers get their hands on the abortion pills through the mail without a woman being seen by a doctor.
Pro-life advocates have spoken out against the decision and pointed to the fact that the FDA didn’t pay attention to information that shows mifepristone results in more women ending up in the emergency room.
The FDA also broadened the ability of people to get the pills from a pharmacy under certain measures. According to the Guttmacher Institute, however, the guidance on availability of the pills through pharmacies hasn’t yet been created.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the Supreme Court ruled in January of 2021 that abortion pills were no longer allowed to be sent through the mail after such restrictions had been lifted during the pandemic, siding with an appeal by the Trump administration.
However, in April, the FDA sent a letter to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) announcing its decision to allow abortion pills to be sent through the mail and prescribed via telemedicine during the COVID-19 health emergency.
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