by Patrina Mosley
September 20, 2019
Abortion research hub the Guttmacher Institute has released its latest report on the trends and incidence of abortion in the United States. This abortion surveillance report covers abortion occurrences from 2014-2017 and documents what we’ve seen consistently: abortion rates are in decline, but the percentage of chemical abortions continues to rise.
The trend continues, with the abortion rate dropping to its lowest point since 1973 at 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women for 2017, dropping eight percent since 2014. In 2014, the abortion rate was 14.6.
The estimated total number of abortions for the year 2017 was 862,320, and 339,640 of those were chemical abortions, which means they accounted for approximately 39 percent of all abortions. That’s a 25 percent increase in the use of chemical abortions (the report refers to them as “medication abortions”) from 2014!
Unsurprisingly, abortion advocates and Guttmacher have attributed the steady decline of abortions to contraceptive use, abortion facility closures, and pro-life protections – never to women choosing better options and rejecting the disempowerment of abortion. But this report added a second layer to their reasoning: “[I]ncreases in the number of individuals relying on self-managed abortions outside of a clinical setting.”
What does that mean? It means that Guttmacher is attempting to account for women who are performing their own chemical abortions at home. This type of abortion cannot, for obvious reasons, be accounted for through traditional methods of abortion reporting.
The report admits that the majority of “medication abortions” were seen in clinics for the year 2017. But the percentage of abortion clinics reporting that they “had seen one or more patients for a missed or failed abortion due to self-induction” increased from 12 percent in 2014 to 18 percent in 2017.
The questionnaire used to collect this data changed from the year 2014 to 2017. The 2014 survey question asked whether “any patients had been treated for missed or failed abortions due to self-induction and if so, how many?” For 2017, the questionnaire removed the yes/no screener and only asked for the total number of patients treated for missed or failed self-managed abortions. Only 55 percent of abortion facilities (808) responded, but the report states that 106 facilities (seven percent) answered, “I don’t know.” The survey concluded that an “I don’t know” response meant the facility was unsure what they were treating – self-induced abortions or miscarriages – so the data here is sure to be incomplete.
It is also not unheard of that illegal abortion pill peddlers have encouraged women to lie and say they’ve had a miscarriage when going to an emergency room or clinic for follow up on complications.
According to one study, women who undergo chemical abortions experience roughly four times the rate of complications compared to women who underwent surgical abortions.
So, if 18 percent of these women were seeking follow-up care at an abortion clinic, then the question is: where were these women getting abortion pills in the first place?
It is reported that some Texas women have walked over the border to Mexico to purchase one portion of the abortion pill regimen, misoprostol, which is available without a prescription there.
What is even more shocking from this report is the implied support for the sale of illegal abortion pills from outliers like Aid Access:
“More recently, drugs similar to those used in the U.S. medication abortion regimen—a highly effective combination of mifepristone and misoprostol—have become available on the internet, as have websites providing accurate information about how to safely and effectively self-manage abortion using drugs obtained outside of a clinical setting. In particular, Aid Access, an international organization that provides medication abortion pills via mail order to people living in the United States, launched their website in March 2018 (after the study period) and reported filling 2,500 prescriptions in that year. The majority of patients obtaining abortions are poor or low-income, many lack health insurance that will cover the procedure, and many live in states with numerous abortion restrictions.
These factors, along with the increased accessibility of resources to help individuals safely self-manage their abortions outside of a clinical setting, likely account for some of the decline in abortions that we have documented.”
This is the same Aid Access that the FDA instructed to cease dispensing abortion pills and comply with their drug safety procedures through the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), which essentially prohibits the distribution of the abortion pill regimen by mail or online.
Aid Access has pursued a lawsuit against the FDA. Aid Access is no doubt just another pawn of the abortion industry in their efforts to get the REMS lifted and have abortion pills accessible over-the-counter.
The abortion pill carries severe risks such as hemorrhage, infection, retained fetal parts, the need for emergency surgery, and even death. An incomplete abortion can occur up to 10 percent of the time; a chemical abortion is nothing to play with and should not be “self-managed.”
A total of 4,195 adverse effects from chemical abortions were reported from 2000 to 2018, including 24 deaths, 97 ectopic pregnancies, 1,042 hospitalizations, 599 blood transfusions, and 412 infections (including 69 severe infections). These are just the adverse events reported to the FDA, so the data is certain to be incomplete.
In spite of these devastating realities, the abortion industry proudly admits that their ultimate goal for the future of abortion in the United States is “self-management.”
Abortion advocates claimed that legalized abortion would eliminate “do it yourself” abortions! Now they want to return to the days of “back-alleys,” this time with “chemical coat-hangers.” This business model places the heavy burden and liability of abortion on the women and not on the abortion industry themselves.
At first, Guttmacher seems to suggest that the apparent decrease in abortion rates is not a true decrease at all, but rather an increase in unreported, self-induced abortions. But after dedicating an entire section of the report to analyzing what it calls “medication” and “self-managed” abortions, Guttmacher concludes the report by backtracking its earlier assessment, saying it is “unlikely” that unreported abortions could account for most of the decline.
No matter what the abortion industry’s propaganda might say, the real reason abortion rates are in decline is that women are choosing life, and pregnancy resource centers providing life-affirming care—often at no cost to the women—are prevailing.