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Thousands of US women stockpile pills amid medication abortion threats

Researchers noted a substantial increase in demand in the last year and a half after the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade.
Thousands of US women stockpile pills amid medication abortion threats
Posted at 7:13 PM, Jan 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-02 21:13:28-05

Due to major changes in abortion laws in the United States in recent years, thousands of women are proactively stocking up on abortion pills to have on hand for potential future use.

Researchers found a significant rise in demand over the past year and a half, following the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The research letter, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine on Tuesday, used data from Aid Access, a European nonprofit telehealth service that mails medication abortion pills, including “advance provision” of mifepristone and misoprostol.

The study shows that Aid Access got about 25 orders a day for "advance provision" of medication abortion from September 2021 to April 2022. But after the Supreme Court's ruling leaked in May 2022, the daily requests skyrocketed to 247, almost 10 times higher.

“States considering future abortion bans had the highest rates of requests, and requestors were motivated by a desire to preserve reproductive autonomy,” the study reads.

However, after the Supreme Court decision in June 2022, daily requests dropped to 89 across the country. Then, in April 2023, when there were conflicting legal rulings about mifepristone, the number of daily requests went up to 172.

“People are looking at looming threats to reproductive health access, looming threats to their reproductive rights, and potentially thinking to themselves: How can I prepare for this? Or how can I get around this or get out ahead of this?” Dr. Abigail Aiken, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin and one of the letter's authors, told The Associated Press.

Last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a dispute over mifepristone later this year. The case involves appeals from the Biden administration and the drug's manufacturer, aiming to lift restrictions on mail access and other limitations, even in states where abortion is legal. These restrictions also include reducing the usage window of mifepristone from 10 weeks to seven weeks. 

Aid Access has received over 48,000 orders for "advance provision" of medication abortion, with about 75% of people citing reasons such as to "ensure personal health and choice” or “prepare for possible abortion restrictions," according to the new research.

More than half of U.S. abortions are now done with pills rather than surgery. In 2020, this method accounted for 53% of all U.S. abortions, a significant rise from 39% in 2017, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

SEE MORE: Court blocks president's abortion access protection guidance in Texas


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