More women are advance-ordering abortion pills

Advanced provision requests for abortion pills have skyrocketed since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, The New York Times reported Jan. 2. 

A study published Jan. 2 in JAMA Internal Medicine examined data from Aid Access, a telehealth organization that provides abortion pills to people in the first 13 weeks of gestation. In September 2021, Aid Access extended its offerings to those who are not yet pregnant. 

Before a draft of the Supreme Court's decision leaked in May 2022, the company reported about 6,000 advance provision requests, or 25 per day. Afterward, it has reported more than 42,000 requests, or about 118 per day. 

These number of requests peaked between the leak and the decision in June 2022, and again in April 2023 amid court rulings in a lawsuit seeking to limit access to abortion drug mifepristone — which will be reviewed by the Supreme Court. 

Advanced provision requesters were most likely to come from states anticipating abortion bans; live in urban areas with lower-than-average poverty rates; and be 30 or older, white and childless. Notably, Aid Access offers free or reduced-cost medications to pregnant patients needing financial assistance, but requires advanced provision patients to pay the full price of $110. 

When asked why they are advance-ordering the pills, most patients said to "ensure personal health and choice" and "prepare for possible abortion restrictions," per the report. 

The legal implications of advanced provision in states with abortion bans are fuzzy, according to three law professors who penned an article in the Stanford Law Review. They might be legal in some places, as many state abortion laws require a provider to know a person is pregnant; but in others, abortion providers could be held responsible for issuing pills intended to end a future pregnancy. 

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