With the advent of the abortion pill and the broadening of its accessibility, abortion has become an even more lucrative industry. Abortion pill sales gross an estimated $300 million per year, and first trimester surgical abortions gross nearly $200 million annually, according to a recent study. Abortions committed into the second trimester or beyond bring abortion profiteers a minimum of $100 million or more per year.
The information is based on median abortion costs published in a study funded by the pro-abortion group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), entitled, “Trends In Self-Pay Charges And Insurance Acceptance For Abortion In The United States, 2017–20.” The ANSIRH report found that between 2017 and 2020, the “median patient charges increased for medication [chemical] abortion (from $495 to $560) and first-trimester procedural [surgical] abortion (from $475 to $575) but not second-trimester abortion (from $935 to $895).”
ANSIRH was cofounded in 2002 by Tracy Weitz and abortionist Felicia H. Stewart. The organization publishes workbooks on abortion training, which they call an “all-inclusive curriculum with tools to train new abortion providers.” ANSIRH not only rents space to Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) and Ibis Reproductive Health, they are also part of UCSF’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health which trains abortion providers though its Ryan Residency Training Program.
Abortion pill sales gross industry nearly $300 million annually
In 2017, there were a total of 862,320 abortions reported by Planned Parenthood’s former “special affiliate” and research arm, the Guttmacher Institute. Out of that total Live Action News estimated 761,428 first trimester abortions committed, including 339,640 (39%) chemical abortions (abortion pill) and 421,788 surgical procedures. Guttmacher recently released preliminary data for 2020 indicating that the percentage of chemical abortions had increased to 54% of all abortions.
While total abortion numbers have yet to be published for 2020, Live Action News estimates gross abortion sales based on 2017 totals, finding nearly $300 million in annual abortion pill sales and nearly $200 million annually for first trimester surgical abortions.
- Chemical Abortion (abortion pill): 465,650 (estimated) in 2020 at $560 each = $260k
- First trimester surgical abortions: 421,788 estimated in 2017 ($475) and 295,778 in 2020 ($575) = 170k to $200k
“The median price for medication abortion in 2020 varied greatly by region, with the lowest being $490 in the South Atlantic and the highest being $730 in the West North Central region. Median charges increased in most regions between 2017 and 2020,” the report states.
Second trimester abortions gross industry $100 million annually
The latest estimates for abortions in the second trimester or later indicate that in 2017, over 100,000 (100,891) abortions took place, with over 11,000 occurring at 21 weeks or later. While Guttmacher anticipates publishing more current data later this year, the organization does not break down abortion statistics past 21 weeks. Using the 100,891 estimate times a cost of $895, we see that these later abortions gross the industry a minimum of nearly $100 million ($90,297,445) annually.
This could be a low estimate, as the study’s author Ushma Upadhyay noted to 19thNews.org, saying, “For a later [second-trimester] abortion, the cost could be as much as $4,000.” She admitted that the study, “likely grossly underestimates the range of potential charges.”
ANSIRH researchers used data from ANSIRH’s abortion facility database, which includes data on publicly advertising abortion facilities, updated every summer between 2017 and 2020. “The database includes a wide range of facilities including doctor’s offices, public health centers, and hospital settings,” authors wrote. “Mystery callers asked general questions about the facilities’ services, but when staff inquired about their personal details, callers replied that they were twenty years old and living in the same city as the facility and gave a last menstrual period date that would place them in the first trimester,” they added. “To avoid giving more personal information, callers may have also said they were calling for a pregnant friend or family member. Mystery callers did not make appointments,” they said.
“In 2017 and 2018 data collection on self-pay charges primarily reflected prices listed on facility websites. In 2019 and 2020 we relied more heavily on mystery shopper calls to collect first trimester abortion prices when prices were not listed on websites. In all years, prices for second trimester abortions were almost exclusively obtained from facilities’ websites and not through mystery shopper calls, contributing to greater levels of missing data because many websites did not contain prices,” the report states.
ANSIRH also “identified between 751 and 776 publicly advertising abortion facilities in the US: 776 in 2017, 751 in 2018, 751 in 2019, and 760 in 2020.”
Study’s motive: Increased taxpayer dollars and private insurance coverage
According to the study, most abortion clients pay out of pocket for the procedure. “In one study that surveyed patients at six abortion-providing facilities nationwide, as many as 69 percent did so, including patients with private health insurance,” the study claimed.
ANSIRH claims that, despite a majority of clients paying the full cost of their own abortions, reimbursement rates from insurance and taxpayer programs is not enough, writing, “As administrative costs for facilities increase, it becomes less feasible for facilities to survive on low insurance reimbursement rates. It is critical that insurance plans evaluate their reimbursement rates and pay providers an amount that is commensurate with their actual costs of providing abortion care.”
According to ANSIRH’s report, “median patient charges” for chemical abortions increased 13% from 2017 to 2020, despite, as Live Action News previously documented, abortion industry costs decreasing around that same time.
In other words, the study failed to explain why the majority of abortions —which are committed using the abortion pill regimen (mifepristone plus misoprostol) and cost the industry well under $100 each — is increasing, likely boosting industry profits.
By leaving out this very important detail and solely focusing on increased costs to consumers, ANSIRH and their paid authors are pushing a false narrative that the U.S. taxpayer and private insurance companies should be required to foot the bill for abortions and are calling for an end to the federal Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortions. And when taxpayers subsidize abortion, ANSIRH knows that more abortions — not fewer — will take place.
“Like” Live Action News on Facebook for more pro-life news and commentary!