Study: ASCs, physician offices demonstrate equivalent abortion safety

Women who have abortions in clinics or physicians' offices are no more likely to experience complications than patients who receive abortions at surgery centers, according to a new study published in JAMA.

Thirteen states require abortion procedures to take place in surgery centers by law. These laws also mandate the widths of doors and hallways are certain dimensions and patients have seperate rooms for recovery.

"The rationale for these laws is that they are necessary for the safety of abortion patients," Sarah Roberts, PhD, assistant professor at the UC San Francisco, told Reuters. "Our study indicates that these laws are not evidence-based."

To compare post-abortion complication rates, researchers analyzed 2011-14 claims data from 49,287 privately insured women who underwent 50,311 induced abortions at either a physician's office or surgery center..

The data illustrated 3.25 percent of women had complications at surgery centers, compared to 3.33 percent of women at physician's offices or clinics. No deaths occured. The researchers suggested these outcomes demonstrate no meaningful difference between surgery centers and office-based abortion care.

"Abortion care made an early shift to the office setting, for the universal reasons of convenience and cost reduction, and because the majority of abortions are technically simple and safe," the study authors wrote in a JAMA  editorial accompanying the study. "Office-based abortion care should remain an available option for women."

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