Canisters of Mifepristone for medical abortion are prepared for patients at Planned Parenthood medical center in Birmingham, Alabama, March 14, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the abortion pill is the most common method of terminating a pregnancy in the United States.
The CDC, in a report released Wednesday, found that about 51% of abortions in 2020 are performed by medication on or before the ninth week of pregnancy. According to the report, between 2019 and 2020, the number of medical abortions increased by 22%.
The birth control pill mifepristone has been at the center of a battle over reproductive rights following the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal federal abortion rights in June. Twelve states have banned abortions since then, but the ban Birth control pills are difficult because it has become easier to get.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration has suspended the requirement that women receive mifepristone in person, allowing them to receive the drug by mail and at retail pharmacies. In December 2021, the drug agency announced that it would make this change permanent.
Anti-abortion groups last week asked a federal court in Texas to cancel more than two decades of FDA approval of mifepristone. The group’s lawyers are from the Alliance for Defense of Freedom, an organization involved in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case that prompted the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Senators Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and eight other senators asked the FDA in a letter last week to expand access to mifepristone by approving its use to manage miscarriage. This will improve women’s access to birth control pills in states that are restricting access, the senators wrote.
The FDA has approved mifepristone in combination with misoprostol tablets as a method of termination of pregnancy before 10 weeks. Mifepristone prevents pregnancy from continuing and misoprostol causes contractions that empty the uterus. This method is 96% to 98% effective in terminating an early pregnancy.
According to CDC data, the abortion pill has become an increasingly popular way of ending pregnancy in the US. The number of medical abortions increased by 154% between 2011 and 2020.
More than 620,000 abortions were performed in the United States in 2020, down 15% since 2011. Almost all abortions, 93%, were performed on or before the 13th and 80th week of pregnancy. % taken on or before week 9, according to CDC data.
Surgical abortion is the second most common method of terminating a pregnancy. According to the CDC, about 40% of abortions are performed by surgical procedure on or before the 13th week of pregnancy.