Self-managed abortion: Aligning law and policy with medical evidence

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2023 Feb;160(2):720-725. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.14607. Epub 2022 Dec 9.


People have always and will always find ways to try to end their pregnancies when necessary. Many do so safely without the involvement or direct supervision of healthcare professionals by self-managing their abortions. In 2022, the well-established safety and efficacy of abortion medications prompted WHO to fully endorse self-managed medication abortion as part of a comprehensive range of safe, effective options for abortion care. But despite robust evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of the self-use of medications for abortion, abortion laws and policies around the world remain at odds with clinical evidence and with the realities of self-managed medication abortion in the present day. The present article considers legal issues related to self-managed abortion and addresses the role of obstetricians, gynecologists, and other healthcare professionals in promoting clinical and legal safety in abortion care through support of self-managed abortion.

Keywords: abortion; criminalization; health equity; law; policy; reproductive health; self-managed abortion.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced*
  • Abortion, Legal
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Self-Management*