To describe sociodemographic characteristics of patients requesting abortion medications
for future use from an online provider.
This descriptive study of requests for advanced provision of mifepristone and misoprostol
from Aid Access between August and December 2021 used patient records from nine primary
care providers to describe demographics, social vulnerability, and reasons for requesting
advanced provision of medications. We used zip code to determine county-level four-point
CDC Social Vulnerability Index.
Among 160 people included in the study, requests for medications came from people
living in 17 US states, the District of Columbia, and active-duty military. Nearly
one-quarter came from California (24%); 16% came from New York, and less than 10%
came from each of the remaining locations. The median age was 29 (IQR, 23–35; range
16–47 years). Most patients were childless (84%), and nearly half had either high
or medium-high social vulnerability (23% and 26%, respectively). The most common reasons
for requesting medications for future use included: personal choice (70%), future
legal restrictions (55%), being comfortable at home (47%), privacy (46%), desire to
take care of their own treatment (43%), and empowerment (42%). Some other common reasons
included stigma (25%), cost (26%), work or school commitments (23%), and desire to
keep it a secret (20%).
Patients are requesting abortion medications in advance of confirmed pregnancy for
a variety of reasons, even in states with fewer restrictive abortion laws. These results
suggest that further research is needed to explore their actual use by these patients.