About as many abortions are happening in the US monthly as before Roe was overturned, report finds

The number of abortions performed each month is about the same as before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the nation’s right to abortion more than a year and a half ago, a new report shows.

The latest edition of the #WeCount report, conducted for the Society of Family Planning, a nonprofit organization that promotes abortion and contraception research, shows that between July and September last year, the most recent period, between 81,150 and 88,620 abortions took place. for which survey results are available. Those numbers are just slightly lower than the monthly average of about 86,800 from April through June 2022, before Roe was overturned and just after.

But abortion data is seasonal, and the same study shows that there were more abortions performed in the US in the spring months of 2023 than in the period the year before the court ruling.

The report also finds that prescribing abortion pills via telemedicine has become common, accounting for about one in six abortions in the most recent three months of survey results.

“Even if a state bans abortion, people continue to need and seek abortion care,” Alison Norris, a professor at The Ohio State University College of Public Health and one of the study co-chairs, said in a statement. “We cannot allow the overall consistent number of abortions nationally to obscure the incredible unmet need and disastrous consequences of abortion bans on people who already have the least access.”

The report estimates that if states had not been allowed to ban abortion, there would have been a total of 120,000 more during the study period in the 14 states that now ban abortion at all stages of pregnancy.

While the number of monthly abortions has fallen to nearly zero in states with bans, the number has increased in states that allow abortion, including Florida, Illinois and Kansas, which border states with bans.

The tracking effort collects monthly data from providers across the country, providing a snapshot of abortion trends after Roe v. Wade was overturned. In some states, some of the data is estimated. The effort makes data public with a lag of less than six months, providing a picture of trends much faster than in the annual reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where the most recent report covers abortion in 2021.

The report does not cover self-managed abortions obtained outside the formal health care system.

The Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson brought immediate change in state policy. Currently, 14 states maintain bans on abortion at all stages of pregnancy, and two more states have bans that begin after the first six weeks—often before women realize they are pregnant. Other Republican-controlled states have imposed lighter restrictions. Enforcement of some bans has been suspended by courts.

Meanwhile, most Democratic-controlled states have taken steps to protect access to abortion. Several have executive orders or laws that seek to prevent ban states from crossing state lines in abortion-related studies. And five — Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Washington — have laws protecting providers who provide abortion care via telehealth.

The report’s overall figures include cases in which providers in those states prescribed medication abortions to patients in states with abortion bans or restrictions on pill versions in the national count, but it does not break down how many by state.

The U.S. Supreme Court is examining whether mifepristone, one of the two drugs most often prescribed in combination to cause abortions, was properly approved.