Medication abortion has become a more population option than ever as the total number of abortions in the US topped 1 million for the first time in more than a decade, according to two new reports.

A rise in pharmaceutical abortion has caused US abortion rates to reach their highest point in more than ten years

US Abortions are increasing, despite bans enacted in more than a dozen states since the US Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, which repealed the federal right to abortion in June 2022.


The US had more than a million abortions in 2023—a 10% increase from 2020 and the highest rate in over a decade—according to a report issued on Tuesday by the Guttmacher Institute, a policy and research group that promotes abortion rights and focuses on sexual and reproductive health. Additionally, the most recent trends point to pharmaceutical abortion as a more popular choice than before.


Abortions increased in the US after the 2022 Dobbs Decision


There were more than 1 million abortions in the United States in 2023, the highest rate in more than a decade.



Data is estimated based on responses collected from a sample of abortion providers. It does not include abortions that occurred outside of the formal health care system
Data is estimated based on responses collected from a sample of abortion providers. It does not include abortions that occurred outside of the formal health care system

While 14 states have outright banned abortion, the number of abortions performed increased in almost every other state between 2020 and 2023. The 10% increase in abortions nationally meant that states without complete bans saw a 25% increase in those years as the geography of abortion services shifted amid a broken regulatory landscape.


The report’s authors stated that “megaphone efforts on the part of clinics, abortion funds, and logistical support organizations to help people in ban states access care through financial and practical support have counterbalanced the drastic loss of access in states with bans.”


Not only did abortion rates rise in states where they were still allowed, but they also did so in states that bordered those that had banned them.


“It is very possible that, while access was dramatically curtailed for people living in ban states, access substantially improved for residents of states without bans,” the researchers stated in their paper.


In addition to state regulations passed to safeguard patients and access to care, as well as increasing financial assistance from abortion funds, the Institute experts believe that better access to telemedicine in recent years has made medication abortion more widely available.


Medication abortion has become more common than ever post-Roe, according to another new report. Nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the US in 2023, an estimated 642,700, were medication abortions, the report says.


Medication US abortion is more common than ever. 


There were about 642,700 medication abortions in the United States in 2023, nearly two-thirds of all abortions nationwide.


Instead of having surgery to stop their pregnancy, some choose to choose medication abortion, sometimes referred to as medical abortion, in which case they take two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol.


Over the two decades that this choice has been accessible, its prevalence has increased significantly, from less than 10% of all US abortions in 2001 to 53% in 2020 and 63% in 2023.


However, the medication Mifepristone, which the US Food and Drug Administration licensed for use in abortions in 2000, is facing an unparalleled legal battle. Oral arguments in a case that could affect access to the medication even in places where abortion is still legal will be heard by the US Supreme Court on March 26. The case also raises concerns about the power of courts to overturn FDA experts’ conclusions on a drug’s safety.


While Misoprostol is a safe substitute that can be used alone for medication abortions, research indicates that combining the two medications is the best course of action.


The researchers stated in the new paper that “any return to restrictions on medication abortion provision via telemedicine would be detrimental for people who either prefer or only have access to abortion via telemedicine.” All women seeking an abortion should have access to the entire spectrum of safe and efficient choices, even though the current legal dispute solely concerns the use of mifepristone and that a misoprostol-only regimen is likewise a safe and successful technique of medication abortion.


Who gets abortions?


Most of the information about people who receive abortions comes from data prior to the Dobbs ruling. In 2021, women across a range of age groups, socioeconomic status, and racial and ethnic backgrounds obtained abortions, but the majority were obtained by women who were in their twenties, low-income, and women of color.


• 57% of abortions were performed on women in their twenties. Women in their thirties made up nearly one-third (31%) of the sample, while women in their 40s (4%) and teenagers (8%) made up smaller percentages.


• Women of colour accounted for seven out of 10 abortion patients. Of the women who had abortions, 42% were black, 30% were white, 22% were Hispanic, and 7% were women of other races or ethnicities.


Numerous women who obtain abortions are mothers. In 2021, at least one prior birth was experienced by more than six out of ten (61%) abortion patients.


Background Medication Abortion:

Since the Food and Drug Administration was ordered by the District Court for the Northern District of Texas in April to revoke its approval of Mifepristone, one of the two pills used in medication abortions, in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. The US FDA, laws and regulations pertaining to the medication are rapidly changing across the United States. Therefore, some of the material on this page might be outdated. We have staff working hard to keep this resource up-to-date. I appreciate your patience.


States all around the nation have outlawed abortion following the June 2022 US Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which struck down the federal constitutional right to an abortion. Both medication-assisted and procedure-assisted abortions have been prohibited in those states due to near-total or early gestational age bans.


The FDA removed the prohibitions that stopped patients from purchasing prescription abortion pills from a retail pharmacy in January 2023. To dispense the medications, pharmacies need to fill out a certification form that comes from the manufacturer. In states where abortion is almost completely prohibited, people cannot get the drug from a pharmacist.


Nearly half of the states that permit abortion restrict access to medication abortions to doctors alone. Many other states that do permit abortion have placed needless limitations on the procedure that only serve to exacerbate access issues. This legislation goes against the World Health Organization and other health and medical organizations’ findings that advanced practice professionals, such as physician assistants and advanced practice nurses, can safely perform medication abortions. The FDA currently approves pharmaceutical abortion up to 10 weeks of gestation, and it can be used safely off-label at later gestations.


Despite clinical data supporting the appropriateness and safety of medication abortion, several states prohibit the practice by requiring a physician to be in the same room as the patient when the medication is administered. Other approaches to restricting access to medication abortion include requiring the provider to watch the patient take the first dose and forbidding the provider from mailing the drugs to the patient. Enabling telemedicine use would increase access to medication abortion, especially for patients living in remote areas and places with limited access to abortion physicians.



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