Why America’s Abortion Rate Might Be Higher Than It Appears
Evidence suggests more American women are “self-managing” their abortions.
By Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz
Sept. 20, 2019
The number of abortions performed in American clinics was lower in 2017 than in any year since abortion became legal nationwide in 1973, new data showed this week. But that does not count a growing number of women who are managing their abortions themselves, without going to a medical office — often by buying pills illicitly.
These “invisible” abortions are hard to measure, so it’s unclear how much higher the true abortion rate is. But researchers say self-managed abortions have risen as abortion has become more restricted in certain states, and as more people have learned that effective pills can be ordered online or purchased across the border.