Health Risk: Alaska DHSS Data Reveals Dramatic Increase in Risky Abortion Method

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

European and American Studies Show Chemical Abortions Inflict a Complication Rate Four Times That of Surgical Abortions


Washington, D.C.The most recent Alaska Department of Health and Social Services abortion data shows a dramatic increase in the number of women using potentially dangerous abortion drugs, which according to multiple peer-reviewed studies pose higher rates of complications.


Data collected by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and analyzed by the nonprofit Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) reveals that in 2020 America’s Last Frontier saw a 46% rise in chemical abortions from the previous year.


“Multiple peer-reviewed studies demonstrate that complications are several times more frequent in chemical than surgical abortions,” noted Tessa Longbons, a CLI research associate who analyzed the Alaska data.  “Based on the science, a dramatic increase in the use of abortion pills in Alaska is likely to lead to a dramatic increase in women and teenage girls experiencing serious complications.  These can include increased pain and bleeding, infection, and the occurrence of an incomplete abortion requiring surgical intervention.  Alaska does not currently require out-of-state providers to report how many abortion pills they mail to state residents, meaning chemical abortions in Alaska are likely underreported.”


A recent national study, written in part by CLI scholars, examined cases of death and severe adverse events after chemical abortions nationwide, especially focusing on mifepristone, the first drug used in the two-part chemical abortion process.


The study analyzed complications which occurred between September 2000 and February 2019 in the U.S.:


  • More than 20 women died of complications from chemical abortions
  • More than 500 life-threatening complications were reported
  • Nearly 2,000 “severe” complications were reported


The study authors also estimated that complications are significantly underreported in the U.S., with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relaxing reporting requirements even further in 2016.


CLI President Charles A. “Chuck” Donovan said:


Despite the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence, the FDA earlier this year suspended the in-person requirement for dispensing abortion pills.  This is a political decision with potentially deadly consequences.  For example, taking abortion pills during an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy can lead to rupture, killing both the mother and her baby.


“The idea that a physician on a video chat, possibly hundreds or even thousands of miles away, can adequately diagnose a pregnant woman or even teenage girl at her home in Alaska, without ever providing her with a physical exam or a safe and confidential environment to disclose possible abuse, is simply ludicrous.  Alaska leaders would do well to follow the science and implement commonsense safeguards to protect the life of the mother, and her child.”


In 2020, ten percent of abortions in Alaska were performed between 13 and 16 weeks of gestation.  Not quite one percent were performed between 17 and 20 weeks gestation.  A majority of European nations (27 out of 50) limit elective abortion to 12 weeks, including Denmark, France, and Norway.  The State of Alaska does not place a gestational age limit on abortion.


Click here to read CLI’s full analysis of Alaska’s 2020 abortion statistics.


Charlotte Lozier Institute was launched in 2011 as the education and research arm of Susan B. Anthony List.  CLI is a hub for research and public policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States and nations around the world.  The Institute is named for a feminist physician known for her commitment to the sanctity of human life and equal career and educational opportunities for women. 




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