New Report Shows Increase In Medication Abortions

New Report Shows Increase In Medication Abortions
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra / Unsplash

New reporting from a leading research and policy organization shows that abortions have been on the rise in the United States. That finding might seem contradictory given the 2022 ruling from the Supreme Court which overturned Roe v. Wade, but the increase in abortions stems in part from access to medication abortion.

The Guttmacher Institute released a triannual report showing medication abortion accounted for 63 percent of all abortions in the United States, an increase from 53 percent three years earlier. That same report noted the sharp rise in telemedicine providers that can mail abortion pills throughout the country: which increased from 7 percent to 31 percent since 2020.

In a Monthly Abortion Provision Study, the Guttmacher Institute showed that there were over a million estimated abortions that occurred in the United States in 2023, the first full year in a post-Roe world. This is the highest number and rate of abortions in the country in over ten years, with an increase of 10 percent since 2020. 

The landscape of abortion was drastically altered after the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe, with states like Texas imposing near total abortion bans. But, as Guttmacher indicates, other states responded by drastically “scaling up” their services, including medication abortion.

The details from Guttmacher are striking and highlight a crucial upcoming case which will be heard at the Supreme Court next week. On March 26, the Supreme Court will hear arguments over a lower court decision that could constrict access to Mifepristone, one of the drugs used in a medication abortion.

The rightwing organization Alliance Defending Freedom sued the FDA to reverse the federal approval of Mifepristone, which occurred in 2000. Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit included anti-choice OB-GYN’s, and because the lawsuit was filed in Amarillo within the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Texas, it was assigned to Trump-appointed Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk.

In April of last year, Kacsmaryk issued a ruling that invalidated the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. The Biden Administration immediately appealed, and the Fifth Circuit blocked Kacsmaryk’s ruling, but still implemented restrictions on Mifepristone. When the Supreme Court decided to review the orders, they put lower court rulings on hold and Mifepristone remains available.

Kacsmaryk is the same judge who ruled that a federal program that provides contraception to teenagers without parental consent violates federal law. The Fifth Circuit largely upheld that opinion just last week.

 Banning medication abortion is deeply unpopular. Polling from Ipsos shows that only 29 percent of Americans are in favor of banning medication abortion. Even 49 percent of Republicans do not support banning medication abortion.