October 31, 2023 // National

Report: Medical Abortions Spike in Year Since Dobbs

WASHINGTON D.C. (OSV News) – The number of legal abortions provided by virtual-only clinics via abortion pill prescriptions spiked 72 percent in the year following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, according to a report by #WeCount, a research project by the Society of Family Planning, a group that supports legal abortion.

The study is notable because it is the first full-year census of U.S. abortion providers following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The survey only considered data from licensed clinics within the health care system, researchers said, and does not account for what may be illegal procedures, such as abortion pills ordered from overseas.

The increase in abortions at virtual-only clinics, which use telemedicine to prescribe an abortion-inducing drug regimen to patients, comports with some previous studies showing similar results post-Dobbs. Even before that decision, data from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that more than half of the abortions performed in the United States were chemical or medical, rather than surgical.

The #WeCount report, which examined the period from April of 2022 to June of 2023, found that although abortions decreased in states that have banned or limited the procedure, abortions increased nationally.

“The Dobbs decision turned abortion access in this country upside down,” Dr. Alison Norris, #WeCount co-chair and a professor at the Ohio State University’s College of Public Health, said in a statement. The increase, she said, demonstrates that people seeking abortions will travel for them despite “tremendous hardships,” while those who cannot travel can face “mental, emotional, and economic impacts.”

The Catholic Church teaches that all human life is sacred and must be respected from conception to natural death. As such, the Church opposes direct abortion as an act of violence that takes the life of the unborn child.

Asked about the #WeCount report, Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa, Founder and President of New Wave Feminists, told OSV News that “this is why at New Wave Feminists we have always said our goal isn’t to make abortion illegal, but to make it unthinkable and unnecessary through practical support.”

“You make it unnecessary by creating a society that doesn’t penalize pregnant people for choosing life,” Herndon-De La Rosa said. “Most of the individuals who contact us need help with housing, child care, health care resources, and transportation. Many work at minimum wage jobs that don’t offer any type of family leave, and they know that continuing their pregnancy means they won’t be able to feed their other children, so they feel trapped.”

“The irony of ‘choice,’” she added, “is that abortion decisions are often only made when a person feels they have no other choice at all because society is only willing to provide the cheapest option (such as abortion pills) but won’t actually invest in the safety nets that would assist them in choosing life and parenting.”

Kate Scanlon is a national reporter for OSV News covering Washington. 

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