U.S. Abortion Rate Highest Since 2011

U.S. Abortion Rate Highest Since 2011

Abortions in the United States reached their highest number since 2011, according to the latest figures released March 19 by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group. The rise tracks with FDA rulings in 2016 and 2021 that loosened abortion pill restrictions.

The estimated 1,026,690 abortions recorded in the U.S. health system also marked a 10% rise since the last reporting year of 2020. And the percentage of abortions via the abortion pill regimen rose significantly as well, jumping to 63% in 2023 from 53% in the 2020. The percentage is more than double that of 2014, when chemical abortions comprised 31% of the abortion total.

The rise in “medication” or chemical abortions is “nothing short of a tragedy,” Tessa Longbons Cox, senior research associate at the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute, said in a statement.

“While Guttmacher’s report doesn’t count abortion drugs illegally mailed into pro-life states from other states with so-called ‘shield laws,’” said Cox, “other research suggests these account for a large share of mail-order abortions. These numbers are unfortunately not surprising given abortion advocates post-Dobbs, including Guttmacher, have not only pushed unlimited abortion, for any reason, at any point in pregnancy, but supported the removal of safeguards on abortion drugs at the expense of women’s safety.”

“We know from major international studies that abortion drugs pose four times the risks of surgical abortion,” she continued, “but the abortion lobby consistently downplays these risks that undermine their narrative. Given the FDA’s recent push to deregulate these drugs and not requiring an in-person visit, what we’re witnessing is a new abortion landscape that prioritizes putting women’s health and safety last.”

The rise in medication abortions coincides with the Biden administration’s 2021 decision through the Food and Drug Administration to lift in-person dispensing requirements for the abortion drug mifepristone, which allowed it to be delivered by mail over the safety warnings of many doctors and pro-life advocates. In 2016, during the Obama administration, the FDA increased the allowable gestational age for abortion pill use from 7 weeks to 10 weeks, again, despite safety concerns cited by pro-life advocates. Mifepristone is followed 24 to 72 hours later by another drug, misoprostol, to complete the chemical abortion regimen.  

The Guttmacher report comes just prior to oral arguments next Tuesday in a Supreme Court hearing involving two cases, FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and Danco v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. The justices will weigh whether or not the FDA violated the law and ignored sound science when it loosened safeguards on allowing the abortion pill to be sent by mail. The court is expected to announce its decision at the end of its term this summer.

According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a growing number of women who have taken mifepristone and immediately regretted it have successfully reversed the effects of mifepristone—before taking the second drug—and saved their babies. The so-called abortion pill reversal (APR) process involves using a progesterone protocol in the hours following ingestion of mifepristone.

According to a 2019 study that included scientists who were opposed to abortion pill reversals, “Among the patients who received progesterone, 80% were able to achieve an ongoing pregnancy,” the Charlotte Lozier Institute reported.

Heartbeat International, a pro-life group, operates what is called The Abortion Pill Rescue Network, which reports that it receives over 150 calls a month from women who regret their abortion decision.

Aleksandr Davydov / Alamy Stock Photo

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