In the six months after the Supreme Court ruling that ended the federal right to an abortion, there were about 32,000 fewer abortions than expected in the United States, according to a new analysis.
There were about 5,000 fewer legal abortions each month, on average, than there were in the months before the ruling – a drop of about 6%.
In April and May, there were an average of about 82,000 abortions each month, according to the analysis. From July through December, that fell to an average of 77,000 abortions per month. The total number of abortions fluctuated month-to-month, but was always lower than it was in April.
The Society of Family Planning, a nonprofit focused on abortion and contraception, sponsored a research effort that collected data from abortion providers nationwide – including clinics, private medical offices, hospitals and virtual clinics. More than 80% of known providers responded. Self-managed abortions that occur outside of the formal health care system were not included in the analysis.
In the 13 states that enacted bans following the Supreme Court decision, abortions fell more than 95%, with just a few reported each month from July to December. But in the remaining set of states, the average number of abortions ticked up slightly. There were surges in some of those states, including Minnesota and Kansas, that suggest that individuals living in states with more restrictions may travel for care.
“Those unable to overcome travel barriers are likely those with the fewest socioeconomic resources,” the authors of the report wrote. “Even small declines in the abortion rate still translate into enormous life impacts for those affected.”
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While the number of abortions declined overall, those provided virtually through telehealth increased each month and accounted for a growing share of abortions overall. There were more than 8,500 telehealth abortions in December, more than double compared with April.
Earlier research found that the average travel time to an abortion facility increased significantly for women in the US following the Supreme Court Decision. Dozens of clinics shuttered within the first month, and the average travel time to the closest facility more than tripled.