USA – Studies detail current, future obstacles to abortion care

Distance to care could as much as triple in Ohio in a post-Roe scenario

April 20, 2022
Ohio State University

With an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision that is likely to further restrict abortion access, two new studies from The Ohio State University provide insights into what additional limits on abortion care could mean, particularly for those who will have to travel across state lines.

One study, published this week in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, found that proposed abortion bans in Ohio could substantially increase the distance to care for residents of the state. It's a finding likely to be repeated in restrictive areas throughout the nation, particularly in the South and Midwest, according to the researchers.


USA – It Can Already Take Weeks To Get An Abortion

And the Supreme Court could soon make it take even longer.

By Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux
Data Analysis by Holly Fuong
Charts by Elena Mejía
Published Apr. 18, 2022

Last week, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a law outlawing abortion in the state. If it isn’t blocked by the courts, the legislation — which has no exceptions for rape or incest — would be one of the harshest measures to become law at a time when anti-abortion lawmakers are all but competing with each other to pass new restrictions.

But in a sense, Oklahoma legislators who want to end
abortion don’t have much more to do in their state. New data exclusively
analyzed by FiveThirtyEight shows that it’s already very difficult to get an
abortion appointment in Oklahoma — and it has nothing to do with the state’s
new ban. Ever since the Supreme Court allowed a highly restrictive abortion law
to go into effect in Texas last September, Oklahoma’s four abortion clinics
have been overrun with demand from out-of-state patients. When a team of
academic researchers posed as pregnant people and called the Oklahoma clinics
at the beginning of March, all four told the callers they couldn’t schedule
them for an appointment.


USA – Early Abortions Are Getting More Expensive

— And fewer insurers are covering the procedure, study finds

by Shannon Firth, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
April 13, 2022

Patients paid increasingly more for medication abortion and first-trimester procedural abortion from 2017 to 2020, while the percentage of facilities accepting health insurance declined, researchers found.

From 2017 to 2020, median patient charges for medication abortion rose from $495 to $560, representing a 13% increase, which was higher than healthcare inflation alone, at 8%, according to Ushma Upadhyay, PhD, MPH, and colleagues from the University of California San Francisco, who reported their findings in Health Affairs.


Repeat abortion: narrowing the contraception gap

Insight Plus, Issue 13 / 11 April 2022
Cate Swannell

AROUND 2000 repeat medical abortions per year could be averted if women were routinely prescribed long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) immediately following early medical abortion.

That’s the message from Australian researchers, published in the MJA, who found that just one in four women were provided with hormonal contraception within 60 days of their early medical abortion.


Abortion pills are just as safe to prescribe based on a patient’s medical history as after an in-person exam, new research finds

Published: March 21
Ushma Upadhyay

For many people, accessing abortion care can be a major challenge. Abortion services are usually only available in certain clinics with specialized equipment like ultrasounds, often requiring long-distance travel to get there. When medication abortion, or abortion with pills, was introduced to the U.S. in 2000, it offered a more accessible option to end pregnancy.

However, medication abortion was initially highly regulated and could only be dispensed in person at abortion clinics. Guidelines also required an ultrasound to confirm that the patient was less than 11 weeks pregnant and not ectopic, meaning having a pregnancy where the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus and can result in a life-threatening miscarriage.


Medication Abortion Now Accounts for More Than Half of All US Abortions

Rachel K. Jones, Elizabeth Nash, Lauren Cross, Jesse Philbin, Marielle Kirstein
Guttmacher Institute
First published online: February 24, 2022

In 2000, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved mifepristone as a method of abortion. Taken along with misoprostol, the two-drug combination is known as medication abortion or the “abortion pill.” New research from the Guttmacher Institute shows that 20 years after its introduction, medication abortion accounted for more than half of all abortions in the United States.

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. This 54% estimate is based on preliminary findings from ongoing data collection; final estimates will be released in late 2022 and the proportion for medication abortion use is not expected to fall below 50%.


USA – Women Denied Abortion See Significant Financial Distress, Study Says

Women turned away from clinics due to gestational limits had increased financial problems compared with women who received an abortion, an analysis shows.

By Sarah True
Dec. 15, 2021

A peer-reviewed study recently accepted for publication offers what its authors say is the “first causal evidence” indicating that abortion denials due to gestational limits – such as the 15-week limit approved in Mississippi and recently debated before the Supreme Court – often lead to significant financial distress for women who are unable to obtain an abortion because of such restrictions.

The study, slated to be published in the American Economic Journal,
examines two groups of women: Those in a “Near Limit” group sought an abortion
just prior to a gestational limit – whether aligned with state law or an
earlier cutoff imposed by an individual clinic – and were able to terminate
their pregnancy. Those in a second “Turnaway” group were denied an abortion for
exceeding the limit by up to three weeks. Among the 217 of 292 women in the
Turnaway group for whom a birth outcome was known, the majority went on to give
birth after the abortion denial, while others either obtained an abortion
elsewhere or suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth.


Prescribing the abortion pill without restrictions is safe and effective, study finds

Researchers say Canada's experience offers a roadmap for other countries

Date: December 8, 2021
Source: University of British Columbia

Abortion remains safe after Canada removed restrictions on the medical abortion pill mifepristone in November 2017.

That's one of the key findings from a UBC-led study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Gender Equality and the Complete Decriminalisation of Abortion

Mara Malagodi, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law
November 10, 2021

Recent legal changes in a number of jurisdictions that have entirely decriminalised abortion are steeped in the language of gender constitutionalism and human rights – whether these changes have taken place via constitutional litigation or statutory reform. As a result, the campaigns for complete decriminalisation in other jurisdictions have now begun to engage in a pragmatic comparative law exercise to advance their cause. Activists deploy the legal arguments and strategies marshalled in those jurisdictions that have completely removed abortion from the purview of their criminal laws alongside domestic constitutional principles and international human rights standards. As such, we are witnessing a global cross-pollination of legal ideas anchored in substantive notions of gender equality and human dignity to challenge legal restrictions to women’s bodily autonomy.

Abortion is the only medical procedure that continues to be consistently treated as a crime around the world. Even those jurisdictions that have partially liberalised their legal regimes continue to criminalise abortion outside of the terms explicitly provided by law. Only a handful of jurisdictions such as China (1979 – excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Canada (1988), Northern Ireland (2019), New Zealand (2020), and Australia (2021), have entirely removed abortion from the purview of their penal laws. Canada did so via constitutional litigation, while the other jurisdictions via statutory reform.


The new anti-abortion tactics of the far right in the Americas

OCT 24, 2021

An EL PAÍS investigation in five Latin American countries has found that a network of centers affiliated with the far-right US organization Heartbeat International (HI) promote themselves online as feminist support groups and use misleading language in favor of abortion, but in reality they work to manipulate and institutionalize women to get them to carry their pregnancy to term.

Five female reporters and one male reporter went undercover to centers in Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Mexico between 2019 and 2021, as a follow-up to an OpenDemocracy investigation into HI’s operations in the region.