In 2016, the Supreme Court decision Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt ruled that Texas’s law requiring abortion facilities to meet ambulatory surgical center (ASC) standards was unconstitutional. Today, thirteen states still have these restrictive laws in effect, yet there is limited evidence documenting the safety of abortions in ASCs compared to office-based settings.
This research examined if there is an association between the type of facility in which an abortion is performed and abortion-related morbidities and adverse events. To investigate this, researchers used a national private insurance claims database that included more than 50,000 abortions. The study found no statistically significant difference in abortion-related events for abortions that were performed in ASCs vs office-based settings. Importantly, there was no significant difference in complication rates for first trimester aspiration abortions between ASCs and office-based settings, and no significant difference in complication rates for second trimester or later abortions between ASCs and office-based settings.
Abortion already is a very safe procedure, and ASC laws do not appear to increase this safety. Laws that require that abortions be performed in ASCs are not based in scientific evidence.
Learn more about the study, “Association of facility type with procedural-related morbidities and adverse events among patients undergoing induced abortions,” at the JAMA website.