Surgical abortion clinics on the decline in US; abortion pill providers on the rise: report

An exam room at the Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center is shown following the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities in Austin, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2016. | (Photo: Reuters/Ilana Panich-Linsman)

The number of clinics that provide surgical abortion procedures has declined over the past several years while the number of clinics that provide only abortion pills is increasing, according to an annual report by a leading pro-life activist group.

The Kansas-based Operation Rescue released the report Tuesday examining trends among abortion clinics across the country. The report finds that the number of surgical abortion clinics in the United States has dropped by over 35% from 713 facilities in 2009 to 458 facilities in 2020.

Meanwhile, clinics that provide non-surgical abortion methods, such as abortion-inducing drugs like mifepristone and misoprostol, have been on the rise in the U.S. — going from 131 facilities in 2009 to 248 facilities in 2020.

Overall, there were 706 clinics offering abortions of some kind in 2020, slightly down from the 710 facilities reported to be operating in 2019, and well below the 856 that were open in 2012.

In a statement included in the report, Operation Rescue President Troy Newman considered the latest numbers to be promising news for the pro-life movement.

“The decline in surgical abortion facilities continues to be bad news for the Abortion Cartel, but is great news for women and their babies,” stated Newman.

“Surgical abortion facilities are still the most numerous and the most profitable, so when they shut down, it is great news that means lives are being saved.”

Overall, the report states that during 2020, 45 abortion clinics either closed down or stopped providing abortion services as part of their reproductive healthcare services.

For the first time in their annual report, Operation Rescue opted to track clinics that distribute abortion drugs through telemedicine. The group found that 69 facilities, or nearly 10% of abortion clinics, have telemedicine programs.

In recent years, organizations and news sources have documented a decline in the number of abortion clinics operating in the U.S. due to multiple factors.

Last month, the pro-choice group the Abortion Care Network, which provides support to independent abortion providers nationwide, released a report finding that 127 abortion clinics have closed down since 2015, with 41 shutting down within the past two years.

This decline was especially apparent among independent abortion clinics, which perform 58% of abortions in the U.S. Planned Parenthood performs 37% of the abortion in the U.S. and doctors’ offices and hospitals perform 4%.

“Meaningful access to abortion care in the United States depends on independent abortion care providers keeping their doors open,” read the ACN report.

“Unfortunately, independent providers are also the most vulnerable to anti-abortion attacks and legislation intended to close clinic doors or push abortion out of reach. Threats to these clinics are a threat to abortion access overall.”

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