Mar 19, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Medication abortion makes up 63% of U.S. abortions, study finds

abortion pill packet

A packet of Mifepristone. Photo: Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Medication abortion accounted for about two out of three abortions performed in the U.S. in 2023, the highest figure on record, according to a new study by the Guttmacher Institute.

Why it matters: The Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments next week on access to the abortion pill, mifepristone. The case could further limit reproductive rights in the wake of the court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade nearly two years ago.

By the numbers: Over the course of 2023 — the first full calendar year since Roe was overturned — there were about 642,700 medication abortions in the U.S., per the study from the research organization that support abortion rights.

  • The 2023 figure accounted for 63% of U.S. abortions last year. That's an increase from 2020, when they comprised 53% of all U.S. abortions, according to the study.
  • The organization releases a comprehensive report every three years on medication abortions around the country.
  • Overall, there were more than 1 million abortions performed in the U.S. in 2023, a more than 10% jump from 2020 and the highest rate in over a decade, the study found.

Mifepristone is typically used as part of a two-pill regimen for medication abortion. It has been banned in 14 states.

  • Walgreens and CVS announced plans earlier this month to start selling abortion pills in states where the procedure is legal.

The big picture: A total of 21 states have moved to ban or restrict abortion in the wake of the Dobbs ruling.

  • President Biden has made preserving reproductive rights a central tenet of his 2024 campaign. At the same time, Democrats are pushing to get abortion rights measures on state ballots in a bid to galvanize voters.
  • Meanwhile, Republicans are divided over how to best address the post-Roe fallout, and former President Trump has cautioned against abortion restrictions without exceptions.

Go deeper: Abortions increased the year after Roe was overturned

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