Public Health Threat: Colorado DPHE Data Reveals Dramatic Increase in Risky Abortion Method

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

Multiple Studies Link Chemical Abortion to Higher Rates of Emergency Room Utilization and Complications


Washington, D.C.The most recent State of Colorado abortion data shows a dramatic increase in the use of potentially dangerous abortion drugs which multiple peer-reviewed studies have linked to higher rates of complications.


Public data collected by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and analyzed by the nonprofit Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) reveals that in 2020 the Centennial State saw a 38% rise in chemical abortions from the previous year.


“Separate peer-reviewed studies from California, Finland, and Sweden demonstrate that complications are several times more frequent in chemical than surgical abortions,” noted Tessa Longbons, CLI’s  senior research associate who analyzed the Colorado data.  “Following the science, a dramatic increase in the use of abortion pills in Colorado 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.”


A groundbreaking national study just released by Charlotte Lozier Institute found that the rate of abortion-related emergency room visits following a chemical abortion increased over 500% from 2002 through 2015:


  • Chemical abortion significantly increased the risk of an emergency room visit. Within 30 days of a chemical abortion, when compared to rates following a surgical abortion:
    • 22% greater risk of ER visit for any reason.
    • 53% greater risk of ER visit for an abortion-related reason.
  • The rate of chemical abortion-related ER visits increased 507% from 2002-2015.

  • Over 60% of abortion-related ER visits following a chemical abortion in 2015 were miscoded as treatment for a miscarriage:
    • The sequence of confirmed chemical abortion, subsequent pregnancy, and subsequent miscarriage within 30 days is physically impossible. Yet Medicaid data from 2015 showed these events were miscoded a majority of the time.


Published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology, the study was the first to utilize Medicaid claims data to conduct a 17-year longitudinal analysis of 423,000 confirmed abortions and 121,283 confirmed subsequent visits to an emergency room in the 17 states which use state taxpayer funds to pay for abortions.


Dr. James Studnicki, CLI vice president of data analytics and lead author of the emergency room study,  said:


“The safety of chemical abortion is dangerously exaggerated.  Women are far more likely to visit the emergency room following a chemical rather than surgical abortion.  The rate of these emergency room visits is growing remarkably fast.  And in 2020, the majority of abortions reported in Colorado were chemical abortions.  This represents a serious public health threat, and the real-world data suggests the threat is growing.”


In 2020, more than 250 abortions in Colorado were performed after 21 weeks of gestation, with some abortions occurring after 28 weeks.  A majority of European nations (47 out of 50) limit elective abortion prior to 15 weeks, including Denmark, France, and Norway.  The State of Colorado does not place a gestational age limit on abortion.


Click here to read CLI’s full analysis of Colorado’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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