Health · June 23, 2022

Abortions skyrocketed in 2020, up 8 percent over 3 years

The survey, completed in May and released Wednesday, includes information from nearly 1,700 U.S. health facilities that performed abortions in 2019 or 2020. The total number of abortions at about a third of those facilities that didn’t respond to the survey — mostly hospitals that typically perform fewer abortions — was estimated based on data from state and local health departments.

Researchers at the abortion rights think tank attribute the national surge to several factors, including the pandemic, changes to the post-Title X family planning program and expanded health coverage for the procedure.

Covid-19 has brought widespread disruptions to Americans’ insurance status, economic stability, mental health and access to health services, leading to a rise in unsafe sex and record rates of sexually transmitted diseases, according to public health experts.

At the same time, many low-income Americans lost access to family planning services in 2019 when the Trump administration imposed new restrictions on Title X recipients, causing hundreds of providers to exit the program.

In addition, some of the increase could be explained by the various steps that states have taken in recent years to expand access to abortion. Illinois and Maine, for example, allowed Medicaid to pay for the procedure, while other states enacted laws requiring private insurance companies to cover abortions.

“The majority of people who have an abortion are poor or on low incomes, and this coverage meant that many who otherwise could not have afforded an abortion were able to receive treatment,” Guttmacher’s report said.

While more than two dozen states introduced abortion restrictions during this time — including waiting times and restrictions on abortion pill distribution — many were blocked by courts. And because these states already had restricted access to the procedure, the report’s authors posit that these new laws had less of an impact than those in states that expanded access to abortion.

In fact, some of the states that were most aggressive in restricting abortion saw the biggest gains, including Mississippi and Oklahoma. The report’s authors hypothesize that more residents turned to the only clinic in Mississippi than travel to another state when neighboring states imposed more restrictions.

The report comes just before the US Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling to overturn it deer v. Wade – a decision that would allow dozens of states to ban the process almost entirely. Guttmacher argues that the new data shows the ruling could have a bigger impact than previously known, forcing hundreds of thousands of people seeking the procedure each year to either cross state lines, illegally terminate their pregnancy, or have an unwanted pregnancy to unsubscribe.

Anti-abortion rights groups have used the new data to attack Democrats running for pro-choice advocates as “extremists.”

“Leading Democrats used to say that abortion should be ‘safe, legal and rare.’ Now the Biden administration and Washington Democrats are pushing for on-demand abortion until childbirth paid for by taxpayers — including dangerous mail-order abortion drugs — and governors in states like California and New York are trying to make their states “sanctuaries” and “safe.” to make ports. for the abortion industry,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, said in a statement to POLITICO. “The pro-life movement needs to continue to educate fellow Americans, and pro-life legislators at the state and federal levels need to be as ambitious as possible to build consensus. Millions of lives are at stake.”