Considerable controversy exists about the effects of medication abortion on the incidence of preterm birth (PTB). Medication abortion of various types continues to be touted as a safe alternative to surgical abortion, and without increased risk for PTB. There is a paucity of evidence regarding medication abortion and PTB, but available papers are reviewed here. There is moderate-quality evidence that medication abortions which require surgical completion increase PTB rates more than surgical abortion alone.
Chemical abortions, otherwise known as “medication-induced” abortions, were approved by the FDA in September 2000, and now account for over 50% of abortions in the United States. Women are being encouraged to order and carry out their own abortion, without in-person supervision by health care professionals, contributing to increased risks of complications.