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.
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