NEW YORK, NY — A new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) from researchers at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) confirms that performing abortions is just as safe in office-based settings, such as health centers and doctor’s offices, as in ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). This research shows that laws requiring abortion to be provided only in ASCs are unnecessary and do nothing to improve patient safety.
The study evaluated more than 50,000 abortions in both office-based settings and ASCs to determine if there were differences in outcomes between the two. Patients who had an abortion in an ASC compared to those who had an abortion in an office-based setting experienced no significant difference in rates of complications. Patients in both ASC and non-ASC settings experienced a major complication only 0.3 percent of the time, and this was true for both first- and second-trimester abortions. The researchers concluded that laws requiring non-ASCs to have specific hallway sizes, door widths, and separate procedure or recovery rooms for abortion procedures do not improve patient safety.
Some states mandate that abortion providers comply with severe and medically unnecessary Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, like needing to meet building requirements for ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs).
This study confirms what we’ve long known — that abortion is very safe and laws that place unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers do nothing to improve patient safety,” said Dr. Gillian Dean, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “At Planned Parenthood, the health and safety of our patients is our top priority. TRAP laws requiring that abortions be performed in ASCs are not based in science and are not written by doctors or medical experts — they’re written by extreme politicians whose real goal is to make it difficult or even impossible for patients to get a safe and legal abortion.
Abortion is one of the safest procedures performed in the United States. Data from reputable sources, including the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, shows that abortion has over a 99 percent safety record, with major complications occurring less than 1 percent of the time.
As a health care provider, Planned Parenthood has seen firsthand, in states such as Texas, the devastating consequences for patients when politicians restrict access to abortion. Because of unnecessary restrictions, patients are forced to travel hundreds of miles, sometimes crossing state lines, and wait for weeks to have an abortion — if they can access services at all. These restrictions often have a disproportionate impact on communities of color, who already face systemic barriers in accessing quality health care.
“At Planned Parenthood, we constantly evaluate new research in the field, new recommendations from medical associations, new technologies, and feedback from patients, experts, and regulators to continue improving our practices,” Dr. Dean said. “Planned Parenthood is proud to provide expert, high-quality health care to our patients — including safe and legal abortion — and ensure they receive accurate information about all of their options so they can make their own, fully informed decisions about their health, their families, and their future.
One in four women in America will have an abortion by the age of 45. Abortion has been legal in the U.S. for 45 years. Support for access to safe, legal abortion is at a record high — about seven in 10 Americans do not want to see Roe V. Wade overturned. You can learn more about abortion at plannedparenthood.org.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.