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How commonly do US abortion patients report attempts to self-induce?

Published:September 23, 2010DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2010.08.019

      Objective

      This study measures the extent to which women who access clinical abortion services in the United States report having ever used misoprostol or other substances to self-induce.

      Study Design

      A random sample of 107 US abortion providers was asked to distribute questionnaires to abortion patients.

      Results

      Information was gathered from 9493 patients at 95 facilities, and weights were constructed to make the data nationally representative of all US abortion patients. Only 1.2% of women obtaining abortions report having ever used misoprostol on their own to “bring back” their period or end a pregnancy. A similarly small proportion of women, 1.4%, reported using other substances, such as vitamin C or herbs, to attempt to end a pregnancy.

      Conclusion

      Media reports of self-induced abortions using misoprostol may be exaggerated, but further research is needed to estimate the incidence of self-induced abortion among women who do not access clinical abortion services.

      Key words

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