What Motivates People in the United States to Seek Medication Abortion Pills Outside of the Clinic Setting?

Johnson, Dana M.
Madera, Melissa
Gomperts, Rebecca
Aiken, Abigail R.A.
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University of Texas at Austin Population Research Center
For those wanting to end a pregnancy, the cost of in-clinic abortion care can be a significant barrier. Restrictive abortion laws in the U.S. add further economic burdens to people who would like to obtain an abortion in a clinic. As abortion has become increasingly restricted, evidence is mounting that some people in the U.S. forgo the clinic altogether. Instead, these people attempt to manage their abortion on their own, outside of the formal healthcare setting. In 2018, Aid Access became the first service to provide self-managed medication abortion in the U.S. via an online telemedicine service. In this brief, PRC trainee Dana Johnson, PRC faculty scholar Abigail Aiken, and colleagues report on a recent study of 80 U.S.-based people who self-managed their abortion using medications obtained from Aid Access. They found that the high costs of in-clinic abortion care, made more difficult by restrictive state abortion policies, motivated people to seek medication abortion via online telemedicine. They also found that mothers weighed their family’s economic wellbeing in their decisions. Finally, the suggested donation of $90 for the pills was still too much for many people seeking online medication abortion.