European and American Studies Show Chemical Abortions Inflict a Complication Rate Four Times That of Surgical Abortions
Washington, D.C. – Newly released State of Florida 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 Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and analyzed by the nonprofit Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) reveals that in 2020 the Sunshine State saw a 24% rise in chemical abortions from the previous year, totaling more than half of all abortions in the state.
“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 Florida data. “Based on the science, a dramatic increase in the use of abortion pills in Florida is likely to lead to a dramatic increase in women experiencing serious complications. These can include increased pain and bleeding, infection, and the occurrence of an incomplete abortion requiring surgical intervention. Unfortunately, Florida does not currently report complications from abortion, meaning state leaders, public health officials, and concerned citizens are unable to fully assess the impact of chemical abortion in the state.”
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:
“Science demonstrates that chemical abortion is more dangerous for women. Data from states which track complications shows that as chemical abortions increase, so do the most serious complications resulting from chemical abortion. Florida leaders would do well to follow the science and implement commonsense safeguards for women, especially those who are more vulnerable due to abusive relationships or trafficking.
“Florida also experienced an increase in late-term abortion in 2020, which is outside of international norms. 47 out of 50 European nations limit elective abortion prior to 15 weeks, yet Florida permitted more than 900 abortions at 20 weeks gestation or even later.”
In 2020 there were 259 abortions reported at 18 weeks post-fertilization (around 20 weeks of gestation), 255 abortions at 21 weeks gestation, 190 abortions at 22 weeks gestation, and 219 abortions at 23 weeks gestation or later, for a total of 923 late-term abortions. For context, 923 abortions is equivalent to the student capacity of 15 school buses.
Click here to read CLI’s full analysis of Florida’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.