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An abortion rights demonstrator holds a sign near the U.S. Capitol during the annual Women's March in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 8, 2022. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFPvia Getty Images
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, whats viagra look like 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.
- Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that states cannot ban abortion pills because they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which says it can be used in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and allows doctors to prescribe the medication online.
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