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In 2017, we established population-based estimates of self-managed abortion experience among US women of reproductive age. In the present study, we repeated the survey to obtain updated and expanded estimates for 2021/2022.
In December 2021 and January 2022, we administered a survey to a nationally representative sample of English- and Spanish-speaking self-identified female Ipsos KnowledgePanel members (n=7,016). Participants were asked if they had “ever taken or done something on [their] own, without medical assistance, to try to end a pregnancy?” Among those reporting self-managed abortion experiences, follow-up questions examined timing and number of attempts, methods used, effectiveness and potential adverse events (AEs). We present weighted proportions.
Overall, 1.6% (95% CI, 1.2–2.1%) reported attempting self-managed abortion; this figure was 1.4% (95% CI, 1.0–1.8%) in 2017. One-quarter (24.0%, 95% CI, 14.8–36.4) of those with self-managed abortion experience reported >1more than one lifetime attempt. One-third (34.4%, 95% CI, 24.1–46.3%) were aged 17 or younger at their first attempt. Use of physical methods (eg, hit in abdomen) increased from 2017 (19.8%, 95% CI, 10.0–35.5%) to 2021/2022 (27.1%, 95% CI, 16.6–40.9%); other common methods in 2021/2022 included herbs (30.0%, 95% CI, 18.9–44.0%), mifepristone/misoprostol (28.2%, 95% CI, 17.3–42.5%), and alcohol (21.7%, 95% CI, 12.4–35.4%). One-third (31.8%, 95% CI, 20.6–45.7%) reported that the method worked to end the pregnancy. Overall, 5.9% (95% CI, 2.4–13.9%) reported a clinically significant AE including overnight hospitalization, transfusion, surgery, or antibiotic treatment.
Roughly 1.1 million US women have experience self-managing abortion. With impending reductions in facility-based access, monitoring trends in self-managed abortion experiences is critical.
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© 2022 Published by Elsevier Inc.