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Unwanted pregnancy is a serious and stressful problem for women. As stated in this paper, technologies that afford safe and effective abortion are well accepted and provide relief from a great difficulty. Many women fear surgery and will go far to avoid it. There is substantial apprehension about general anesthesia during surgery and also fear that local anesthesia may not prevent pain. This leads to a high demand for a medical abortion alternative. Some women consider that the quick and definitive surgical alternative is easier; some find that swallowing a pill is easier. Privacy is greatly valued. Medical abortion technology seems to meet this need more than surgical abortion, especially if the surgical alternative mandates hospital admission and absence from home. The high values placed on privacy, autonomy, and the wish to be able to be at home combine, in at least some settings, to create a demand for a self-administered home treatment for early abortion. Given a choice between surgery and any of several medical abortion methods, most eligible women appear to prefer the medical method.






Robert H. Ebert Program on Critical Issues in Reproductive Health