Chemical abortion now comprises more than half of all U.S. abortions

Chemical abortion now comprises more than half of all U.S. abortions (Karolina Grabowska/Pexels)

Chemical abortions now account for the majority of all abortions conducted in the U.S., a new report says, representing more than half of all U.S. abortions and surpassing projections. 

After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) loosened safety standards for chemical abortions due to the coronavirus recently, it was expected that the chemical abortion rate would get to 50%. 

But the Guttmacher Institute announced Thursday that the rate had reached 54% as of 2020, according to its analysis.

Guttmacher, previously affiliated with Planned Parenthood, said that the jump in the chemical abortion rate was significant and is not anticipated to drop back below 50%.

2020 was the first time chemical abortion “crossed the threshold to become the majority of all abortions,” Guttmacher said, “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,” the group said, “final estimates will be released in late 2022 and the proportion for medication abortion use is not expected to fall below 50%.”

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Guttmacher Institute


Chemical abortion, also known as medical abortion or medication, consists of mifepristone, which blocks progesterone, the natural hormone in a woman’s body necessary to sustain pregnancy. Followed up by misoprostol, which causes the mother’s uterus to contract and expel her deceased child, the two drugs make up the chemical abortion regimen.

Chemical abortion has grown in popularity and abortion supporters continue to push for increased access, even suing during the coronavirus public emergency for safety regulations to be loosened using the virus as a pretext.

President Joe Biden acted to weaken longstanding federal safety regulations for chemical abortion drugs (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies - REMS), in December, allowing abortion pills to be dispensed via the mail.

This puts women at potential risk without proper medical oversight when the drugs are dispensed.

And earlier this month the U.S. Senate confirmed Biden’s controversial nominee for FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf. Califf had been FDA commissioner in the Obama administration from February 2016 to January 2017, and pro-life groups opposed the nomination due to Califf’s record of significantly undermined reporting and safety requirements for chemical abortion during his first term at the FDA.

The REMS for chemical abortion required the reporting of severe, life-threatening, and fatal adverse events up until 2016, but then under the Califf’s direction the requirement was changed to require that only fatal adverse events be reported. Califf had approved the change despite thousands of adverse event reports already having been submitted to the FDA under the REMS.

Abortion proponents attempt to play down the safety risks associated with chemical abortion. However, the FDA only applies Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies to drugs that have serious safety concerns, with the intent of ensuring the benefits of the drugs offset its risks.

Tweet This: The chemical abortion rate in the U.S. reached 54% as of 2020, surpassing projections, and the rate is not expected to drop.

Pregnancy help advocates were not surprised by the statistics Guttmacher reported, given the FDA’s removal of part of the REMS, foretelling risk for women and profit for abortion providers. 

“While not surprising, we foresee this as just the start of a rapid growth period for chemical abortion within the U.S.,” said Andrea Trudden, vice president of Marketing and Communications for Heartbeat International. “With the removal of the Risk Evaluation Management Strategies on mifepristone, the first drug in the abortion pill regimen, the current administration has taken away the common-sense safeguards implemented to protect women.”

“We must not forget that the failure rate for chemical abortion is estimated by the manufacturer to be 3-7 percent,” Trudden said, “sending these women to the hospital with serious side effects and forcing them to have another abortion procedure. By kowtowing to the abortion industry, they are literally putting more women's lives in danger.”

The president of Heartbeat, the largest network of pregnancy help in the world, remarked on the negative implication of numbers.

"We saw this coming even before the pandemic,” Jor-El Godsey said. “For those who care deeply about women's health and babies’ lives, the news is even worse than we projected. For Big Abortion the news is better than they hoped and even more profitable." 

Heartbeat also manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) which facilitates the Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) protocol. APR is a newer application of a time-tested treatment to prevent miscarriage, entailing the prescribing of progesterone to counteract the first abortion drug.

If a pregnant woman takes the first drug, mifepristone, and she has regret and acts quickly enough, it may be possible to save her unborn child. Results for Abortion Pill Reversal are best within 24 hours of taking the first abortion pill, but reversals have been successful as long as 72 hours later. The APRN reports that statistic show that 3,000 lives and counting have been saved thanks to APR.

Heartbeat International Director of Medical Impact Christa Brown said that the reported rise in chemical abortion numbers reflects the demand for APR, and that pregnancy help advocates would persist in being available to serve women in this situation.

“This corresponds to the growing need for Abortion Pill Reversal we have experienced at APR Network,” Brown said. “As Big Abortion looks to profit in even greater ways from chemical abortion, they make promises they aren’t able to keep. And with that comes so much regret from women who want to make a different choice - a choice to continue their pregnancies.” 

“For each of these women, we are here to help,” Brown said.

Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN) and Pregnancy Help News.

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