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Without access to facility-based abortion care, one in three people would consider self-managing their abortion

Increasing abortion restrictions are pushing more people to navigate legal risks and longer travel distances to the nearest abortion clinic. A new study confirms that as many as one in three people indicate that they would consider doing something to end their pregnancy on their own if unable to obtain care at a facility.

Key Findings

One in three (34%) study participants would definitely or probably consider self-managing their abortion (SMA) if unable to get care at a clinic.
People without health insurance, people having difficulty paying for the abortion, and people seeking abortion care due to concerns about their physical or mental health were more likely to consider self-managed abortion.
People who would consider self-managed abortion faced more obstacles to getting care such as finding a facility, arranging transportation, and needing multiple visits.

Study Design

From January to June 2019, researchers surveyed patients seeking abortion at 4 facilities in 3 U.S. states. They explored consideration of SMA using responses to the question: “Would you consider ending this pregnancy on your own if you are unable to obtain care at a health care facility?” Researchers also explored whether consideration of SMA differed by specific obstacles to abortion care. Although this study was conducted at a time when facility-based abortion was legally protected in the U.S. under the Supreme Court’s 1972 Roe v. Wade decision, the hypothetical scenario presented to participants in this study of being unable to access abortion at a facility is now a reality for many pregnant people, after SCOTUS recently overturned federal protection of abortion.


Self-managed abortion may become more common as more abortion bans are enacted. Findings from this study also reinforces prior evidence that shows consideration of SMA is consistently higher for those who report obstacles related to finding or getting to a clinic or paying for care.

The researchers state:

“Future research should continue to monitor pregnant people’s consideration and use of SMA, which may give further insight into who is interested in self-sourcing medications or will need assistance traveling to state where abortion remains accessible as clinic-based abortion access is eliminated in regions across the US.”

The article, A cross-sectional study examining consideration of self-managed abortion among people seeking facility-based care in the United States, is available in Reproductive Health.