(Reuters) – Remedy abortion accounted for greater than half of all abortions in america as of 2020, a brand new survey discovered, a major enhance from prior years because the capsules grew to become extra broadly accessible and surgical abortions tougher to acquire.

Fifty-four % of abortions administered in 2020 concerned the two-pill methodology versus a surgical process, in accordance with a survey printed on Thursday by the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights advocacy analysis group.

The information confirmed a leap from 2017, when Guttmacher discovered that 39% of abortions have been performed by medicine. The analysis group collects knowledge from U.S. abortion suppliers each three years.

Abortion rights advocates think about medicine abortion important to the way forward for abortion entry in america, permitting ladies who dwell removed from clinics to finish their pregnancies with out vital journey and monetary hurdles.

The U.S. Supreme Court docket may overhaul abortion rights as quickly as this spring, when it’s anticipated to rule on a Mississippi regulation that bans abortion at 15 weeks. The court docket, with its 6-3 conservative majority, has signaled its willingness to let that ban stand. Such a ruling would undercut the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that established the fitting to finish being pregnant earlier than the fetus is viable, at round 24 weeks. If Roe is overturned, some two dozen states would transfer shortly to ban abortion.

“Significantly if sufferers live in states the place abortion is banned, sufferers might be able to entry medicine abortion by way of the web,” stated Elizabeth Nash, a state coverage skilled at Guttmacher. “For many individuals, it might be simpler to entry abortion care by way of the web somewhat than journey a whole bunch of miles to get to a facility.”

Abortion opponents see limiting entry to the capsules as a brand new entrance of their battle to finish abortion. To this point this yr, no less than 16 state legislatures have launched payments that will prohibit the administration of abortion capsules or ban their use altogether, in accordance with Guttmacher.

The usage of medicine to terminate a being pregnant as much as 10 weeks was authorised by the Meals and Drug Administration in 2000. The strategy entails two medicine, taken over a day or two. The primary, mifepristone, blocks the pregnancy-sustaining hormone progesterone. The second, misoprostol, induces uterine contractions.

For years, the FDA restricted the usage of medicine abortion with measures like requiring mifepristone to be distributed in particular person, somewhat than permitting it to be prescribed remotely and despatched by mail. The FDA eased its restrictions in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic posed a barrier to in-person healthcare. The company then completely relaxed its prior restrictions on the tablet in December 2021, permitting the drug to be prescribed by licensed suppliers through telemedicine and despatched by mail.

Nonetheless, legal guidelines in some states additional restrict the accessibility of medicine abortion. In 19 states, the doctor prescribing the capsules should be current for his or her administration, that means telemedicine isn’t allowed.  

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Enhancing by Colleen Jenkins and Richard Pullin)