USA – two stories: national survey on abortion / an analysis of abortion-related emergency department visits

National survey of US voters on abortion

The US Senate has the right to approve or reject Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. Approval is not automatic. Mid-term elections in the US, including some Senate seats, will take place in November 2018. Kavanaugh has a history of opposition to the right to abortion for women. Voter opinion on the right to abortion is therefore critical.

A new national survey conducted by Civis Analytics’ political data science team shows that US voters overwhelmingly believe a new Supreme Court justice should uphold women’s constitutional right to abortion. Furthermore, voters are more likely to support Senators who oppose a nominee who would restrict women’s access to abortion – consistent with numerous recent independent surveys that show broad-based, bipartisan opposition to overturning Roe v Wade. The online survey was conducted on 25 July on behalf of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and National Women’s Law Center Action Fund and included responses from 2,438 likely voters (margin of error +/- 2.8%, 95% confidence interval).

More than 75% of respondents believed it is important that a new Supreme Court Justice upholds women’s constitutional rights, including abortion. This included 87% of Democrats, 86% of Independents, and 54% of Republicans.

Strong majorities of voters supported abortion rights across the political spectrum. A majority believed that the right to have abortion in the US is at risk, including 66% of Democrats, 50% of Independents, and 45% of Republicans.

 There is tremendous advantage for Senators to lean into abortion rights in the context of the Supreme Court nomination. Voters are twice as likely to support, rather than oppose, senators who vote for a nominee who would uphold Roe v. Wade. Even Republicans are six points more likely to increase rather than decrease their support for a Senator who upheld Roe. Voters are also twice as likely to support a candidate for elected office who supports women’s rights on abortion. 65% have heard about the Supreme Court vacancy and 75% plan to pay “some” or “a lot” of attention to the news about a nominee and confirmation hearing. More than 40% say it’s likely that they’ll contact their Senators to voice their opinions about Judge Kavanaugh.


SOURCE: NWLC Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, 30 July 2018

PHOTO: 2013 survey finds that over half of women voters say they are feminists!


Abortion-related emergency department visits in the United States: an analysis of a national emergency department sample

by Ushma D Upadhyay, Nicole E Johns, Rebecca Barron, Alice Cartwright, Chantal Tapé, Alyssa Mierjeski, Alyson J McGregor

BMC Medicine 2018;16:88   DOI:   (Open access)

Abstract (summary)

Media depictions and laws passed in US state legislatures regulating abortion suggest abortion-related medical emergencies are common. An accurate understanding of the extent of abortion-related emergencies is important for informing policy and practice. A recent study assessed the incidence of abortion-related emergency department visits in a nationally representative sample in the US in the years 2009-2013 in 947-964 hospitals per year. All emergency department visits among women of reproductive age (15–49) were included. These visits were categorized by abortion relatedness and treatments received, and assessed whether the visit was for a major incident (defined as requiring blood transfusion, surgery, or overnight inpatient stay).

Among all emergency department visits by women aged 15–49 (189,480,685), 0.01% (n=27,941) were abortion-related. Of these visits, 51% of the women received observation care only, and 20% were for major incidents, of which 390 were potentially due to attempts at self-induced abortion. In multivariable models, women using Medicaid and women with a co-morbid condition had higher odds of having a major incident than women using private insurance and those without co-morbid conditions. During the study period, only 0.11% of all abortions in the US resulted in major incidents as seen in emergency departments.

Conclusions: Abortion-related emergency department visits comprise a small proportion of women’s emergency department visits. Many abortion-related emergency department visits may not be indicated or could have been managed at a less costly level of care. Given the low rate of major incidents, perceptions that abortion is unsafe are not based on evidence.