Mail-order abortion pill requests surged after Roe reversal, study finds
Requests for self-managed abortions via pills increased in 30 states following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, with the largest surges seen in states with total or near-total bans on abortion, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Driving the news: In states with total abortion bans, 62.4% of respondents cited "current abortion restrictions" as a reason for their request after the Supreme Cort decision, compared to 31.4% before.
Why it matters: Abortion medication has been in high demand as a self-administered option amid GOP-led states' bid to restrict abortion access. The FDA-approved drug is less costly than clinical procedures and doesn't require travel, relieving some of the financial barriers that often weigh on people.
Details: The study examined requests in the 30 states where Aid Access — a telemedicine service that provides self-managed abortions through pills mailed to people in the U.S. — is accessible outside the formal health care system.
- Between September and May before the Dobbs decision was leaked, Aid Access received an average of roughly 83 requests per day.
- During the period of time from May to June 24 between the leak and the formal decision, that number increased to about 137.
- From June 24 through August after the decision was formally announced, it rose to nearly 214.
- Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma had the largest increases in requests per week per 100,000 women.
What they're saying: "Every state, regardless of abortion policy, showed a higher request rate during the periods after the leak and after the formal decision announcement, with the largest increases observed in states enacting total bans," the study said.
- When Texas enacted its abortion ban last fall, "I said the need for abortion won’t go away just because it’s restricted, and that self-management stepped in as a potential option for people who could not go to a clinic," Abigail R.A. Aiken, assistant professor at the University of Texas Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
- "[W]hat this new data also shows is that when respondents have other options available to them, they still value the ability to manage abortion on their own terms."
Worth noting: Almost half of U.S. states had laws in place making it illegal to access pills via mail even before the fall of Roe.