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New Report Finds Abortion Is Safe


You may be looking at the title and thinking, “yeah, duh.” But there are two things you should remember. The first is that good medicine relies on scientific evidence. Think back to the kerfuffle over flossing in 2016 (a more innocent time, to be sure). The AP reported that this mundane, common-sense dental hygiene task did not have many long-term studies to back it up. People were up in arms over it! Interestingly, in a rebuttal article, a dentist wrote, “At the end of the day, flossing is your call. Patient autonomy is essential to health care.” Perhaps we could all apply the same sentiment to the rest of a woman’s body.

The second thing to remember is that most people have a significant knowledge gap when it comes to abortion. Many people don’t know that abortion is a common procedure, one that a quarter of American women will have by the time they are 45. They don’t know all the hoops women and doctors have to jump through to get it or provide it, respectively. Perhaps most importantly, people don’t know how incredibly safe abortion is. Fear and emotion often rule a conversation about abortion instead of facts and science.

Science is the foundation of all medicine, and abortion is a part of medicine. Peer-reviewed reports that back up the safety of it put a significant damper on the anti-choice argument that women need to be protected from this procedure. This research refutes the many laws being introduced that allege abortion is unsafe and therefore must be regulated to extinction. We trust science, and we trust women.

The Study

In March, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) released a new report which concludes that abortion in all forms is safe and effective. This evidence-based, nonpartisan, scientific research review, which was developed by an independent panel of 13 experts in the field, is the first comprehensive look at abortion safety, access and care conducted in the last 40 years.

Here are the key takeaways:

Abortion Is Safe

The NASEM report concludes that all forms of abortion – medication, aspiration, dilation and evacuation (D&E) and induction – have very low rates of complications, with some as low as a fraction of one percent of all patients. Further, the report notes that abortion has no impact on a woman’s future fertility, breast cancer risk or likelihood to experience mental health disorders.

The research also finds that in most cases, abortion care doesn’t require special equipment or emergency arrangements. Moreover, the research explains that a trained physician, physician assistant, certified nurse-midwife and nurse practitioner has the skills and experience to perform most procedures.

Medically Unnecessary Regulations Impact Quality of Care

While politicians across the country seek to limit access to abortion care, NASEM’s research finds that these regulations are not only medically unnecessary, but they also negatively impact women’s quality of care. To reach this conclusion the researchers reviewed abortion against the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) attributes of health care quality and found that medically unnecessary regulations impact five of the six quality attributes: effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equity of care (safety was the only attribute not impacted by regulations). The report defines medically unnecessary regulations as “[limiting] the number of available providers, [misinforming] women of risks of the procedures they are considering, [overruling] women’s and clinicians’ medical decision making or [requiring] medically unnecessary services and delays in care.”

Specifically, the report invalidates medically unnecessary regulations including requiring a licensed physician perform abortion, requiring informed consent to include inaccurate information on long-term effects, mandating medication abortion only be taken in the presence of a clinician and requiring clinics to have standards equal to surgical centers or a certain distance to a hospital.

To learn more about the report, visit www.abortionissafe.com.

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"This is such a unique opportunity to gain clinical exposure in a classically underrepresented area of medical school curricula, and I am certain that I would not have received such a robust abortion education in medical school without the RHE."

Reproductive Health Externship Participant

"I left the ATI with a strengthened resolve to get abortion training during residency in order to provide them as a PCP, and now am looking ONLY at residency programs that will allow me to get training. Moreover, talking with residents and providers left me with concrete knowledge of how to find training experiences."

Abortion Training Institute Participant