What is a Medical Abortion? Poll Finds Many U.S. Women Confused
Editor Notes

In June 2022, the Supreme Court issued the Dobbs decision which ultimately overturned Roe v. Wade. Now, states are allowed to set their own laws regarding abortion without a federal standard protecting abortion access. Because of this ruling, there has been a renewed focus on access to medication abortion. Medication abortion is a method of terminating a pregnancy using prescription drugs. Some states already ban or restrict access to this form of abortion. With the changes in abortion laws, it can be confusing to understand medication abortion and whether someone has access to it in their state.

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll examined public awareness on abortion and emergency contraception. “Pollsters surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,234 U.S. adults in English and Spanish between Jan. 17 and 24.”

“About four in 10 adults nationwide said they were unsure whether abortion using mifepristone was legal where they live. About half of women said they were “unsure” whether medication abortion is legal in their state, including 41 percent of those between 18 and 49 years of age. In 13 states with full abortion bans, about 13 percent of adults thought medical abortion was legal in their state and 47 percent were unsure. Four in 10 were aware that medication abortion was illegal in their state.”

“Many also were confused about emergency contraception…While emergency contraceptives like the morning-after pill are legal in all 50 states, 32 percent of respondents were unsure if they were legal in their state and 5 percent thought they were illegal.”

This new poll shows that there appears to be widespread confusion surrounding the legality and use of medication abortion. Confusion may prevent someone from accessing medication abortion if they need it. Educating people on what medication abortion is and medication abortion access in their state, and dispelling the myths on it is crucial.

Changes in U.S. abortion laws have prompted confusion among women about medication abortion and emergency contraception, or the "morning-after" pill. A new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation underscores this lack of awareness about what is legal or not from state to state, including whether a full abortion ban is in place or abortions are allowed.

Pollsters surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,234 U.S. adults in English and Spanish between Jan. 17 and 24. This survey was conducted more than six months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing individual states to ban or limit abortion.

About four in 10 adults nationwide said they were unsure whether abortion using mifepristone was legal where they live. About half of women said they were "unsure" whether medication abortion is legal in their state, including 41 percent of those between 18 and 49 years of age. In 13 states...

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