How commonly do US abortion patients report attempts to self-induce?

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Jan;204(1):23.e1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.08.019. Epub 2010 Sep 22.


Objective: This study measures the extent to which women who access clinical abortion services in the United States report having ever used misoprostol or other substances to self-induce.

Study design: A random sample of 107 US abortion providers was asked to distribute questionnaires to abortion patients.

Results: Information was gathered from 9493 patients at 95 facilities, and weights were constructed to make the data nationally representative of all US abortion patients. Only 1.2% of women obtaining abortions report having ever used misoprostol on their own to "bring back" their period or end a pregnancy. A similarly small proportion of women, 1.4%, reported using other substances, such as vitamin C or herbs, to attempt to end a pregnancy.

Conclusion: Media reports of self-induced abortions using misoprostol may be exaggerated, but further research is needed to estimate the incidence of self-induced abortion among women who do not access clinical abortion services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal*
  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Misoprostol*
  • Pregnancy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • White People / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult


  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal
  • Misoprostol