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Use Of 'Abortion Pill' Increases In Indiana, Even As Overall Procedures Take a Nosedive

University of California-Santa Barbara Sociology

More women in Indiana are choosing to abort pregnancies with the so-called “abortion pill,” even while the total number of procedures is decreasing in the state.

The vast majority of abortions are done using one of two procedures. So-called “chemical” or “medical” procedures use a pill to abort a fetus at home. “Surgical” abortions, which are also referred to as "suction curettage,” use a vacuum-like device to suction out fetal tissue. Both methods are legal in Indiana and cost approximately the same.

According to annual data released by the Indiana State Department of Health, in 2011, 18 percent of all abortions performed in Indiana were done using the pill method. In 2015, 28 percent of women used this method.  

Shelly Dodson, Director at All Options Pregnancy Resource Center in Bloomington, said because a chemical abortion can be done at home, it means a woman doesn’t have to walk past a line of protestors before the procedure.

We often are hearing people say they are not wanting to deal with the protestors and that really increases the stigma,” she said. “And so being able to do it at home being able to do it at home is another reason for that.”

She added in Indiana specifically, the procedure has a huge stigma attached:

 “You’re not having to come back in for the procedures,” she said. “And for some people that’s why they prefer medication abortion because of the privacy and the control it allows them.”

Rachel Jones, Principal Research Scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-rights organization, said Indiana’s numbers line up with national trends. She says it reflects more women having abortions earlier.

It is the case sometimes providers aren’t willing to do a suction abortions but they are able to give women a pill [early in the pregnancy],” she said. “So this allows women to have abortions even earlier in the pregnancy.”

Indiana State Department of Health data shows the number of abortions in Indiana has decreased for the last six years. Jones said that data indicates even though women have more options when it comes to the procedure they would like, those increasing options don’t mean more people choose to have an abortion.

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