Abortion: Resource Overview

An induced abortion, also referred to as pregnancy termination or abortion, is an intervention intended to terminate a pregnancy so that it does not result in a live birth. Access to safe pregnancy termination options remains of vital importance. Ob-gyns, physicians whose primary responsibility is women's health, play a leading role in assisting women in making decisions about abortion, and guide policy on issues such as induced abortion. 

Here are the key publications and resources for ob-gyns, other women’s health care providers, and patients from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other sources.

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Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers
Resources for Women and Patients

Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers

Practice Bulletin: Medical Management of First-Trimester Abortion

“Medical Management of First-Trimester Abortion,” issued by ACOG in March 2014 (reaffirmed 2016), presents evidence of the effectiveness, benefits, and risks of first-trimester medical abortion, which involves the use of medications rather than a surgical procedure to induce abortion. It also provides a framework for counseling women who are considering medical abortion.

Practice Bulletin: Second-Trimester Abortion (members only)

“Second-Trimester Abortion,” issued by ACOG in June 2013 (reaffirmed 2017), provides evidence-based guidelines for medical and surgical methods of second-trimester termination as well as for the management of associated complications.

Committee Opinion: Abortion Training and Education

“Abortion Training and Education,” issued by ACOG in November 2014 (reaffirmed 2019), describes the continued need for education in family planning and abortion training for medical students and residents in light of increasing legislative barriers to services. It reviews the current status of abortion education, describes initiatives to ensure the availability of appropriate and up-to-date abortion training, and recommends efforts for integrating and improving abortion education in medical schools, residency programs, and advanced practice clinician training programs.

Committee Opinion: Increasing Access to Abortion

“Increasing Access to Abortion,” issued by ACOG in November 2014 (reaffirmed 2019), discusses the threats to access to abortion by state and federal restrictions, limitations on public funding, stigma, violence against abortion providers, and a dearth of abortion providers. It calls for advocacy to oppose and overturn restrictions, improve access, and mainstream abortion as an integral component of women’s health care.

Committee Opinion: Induced Abortion and Breast Cancer Risk

“Induced Abortion and Breast Cancer Risk,” issued by ACOG in June 2009 (reaffirmed 2018), examines research on the relationship between induced abortion and breast cancer. It finds that earlier studies showing a correlation between the two were methodologically flawed, whereas more recent rigorous studies demonstrate no causal relationship.

Committee Opinion: Misoprostol for Postabortion Care

“Misoprostol for Postabortion Care,” issued by AGOG in February 2009, discusses misoprostol as a safe, effective method of postabortion care to reduce maternal mortality, particularly in developing countries. It reviews recent research and protocols for missed and incomplete abortions and outlines a complete postabortion care model.

Statement of Policy: Abortion Policy

“Abortion Policy,” issued by ACOG in July 2017, outlines ACOG’s general policy related to abortion. It affirms the importance of informed consent of all pregnancy options as an expression of respect for the patient as a person; it also affirms ACOG’s opposition to unnecessary regulations that limit or delay necessary care.

Statement of Policy: Legislative Interference with Patient Care, Medical Decisions, and the Patient-Physician Relationship

"Legislative Interference with Patient Care, Medical Decisions, and the Patient-Physician Relationship," issued by ACOG in May 2013 (reaffirmed 2016), outlines ACOG's general policy related to legislative interference. It affirms the valuable role government plays in the provision of essential health services. It also states that government should not interfere with the patient-physician relationship or the patient's right to be counseled by a physician.

Position Statement: Improving Access to Mifepristone for Reproductive Health Indications

"Improving Access to Mifepristone for Reproductive Health Indications," issued by ACOG in June 2018, urges the removal of the REMS and EATSU regulations for Mifeprex®, as the current regulations are outdated and limit access to this safe, effective medication.

Position Statement: Decriminalization of Self-Induced Abortion

"Decriminalization of Self-Induced Abortion," issued by ACOG in December 2017, outlines ACOG's opposition to prosecuting a pregnant woman for conduct alleged to have harmed her fetus, including the criminalization of self-induced abortion.

Position Statement: Restrictions to Comprehensive Reproductive Health Care

"Restrictions to Comprehensive Reproductive Health Care," issued by ACOG in April 2016 (reaffirmed 2018), affirms ACOG's position that access to scientific, comprehensive reproductive health care is essential to women's health and well-bring. It also states that restrictive hospital policies can damage the patient-physician relationship and harm the health of women.

Resources for Women and Patients

Patient FAQ: Pregnancy Choices: Raising the Baby, Adoption, and Abortion

“Pregnancy Choices: Raising the Baby, Adoption, and Abortion,” issued by ACOG in February 2013, answers commonly asked questions about a woman's options when she finds out she’s pregnant. Includes questions to help guide a woman’s decision on whether to have the baby, factors to consider when arranging for adoption, and discussion of local abortion laws, available procedures, and risks.

Patient FAQ: Induced Abortion

“Induced Abortion,” issued by ACOG in May 2015, answers commonly asked questions about the various methods of abortions, risks and side effects, when and where the procedures are performed, and what the patient may experience following an abortion.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality women’s health care, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care.

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American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
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