July 6, 2023

Indiana abortions increased in 2022 with more than usual out-of-state patients. But the trend changed this year.

New abortion count in Indiana shows that providers performed more abortions in 2022 than any year since 2018. But Indiana’s on again, off again near-total abortion ban may have caused confusion. The numbers fell in the first quarter of 2023 despite an injunction that halted the law from going into effect during that period. - Ben Thorp/WFYI

New abortion count in Indiana shows that providers performed more abortions in 2022 than any year since 2018. But Indiana’s on again, off again near-total abortion ban may have caused confusion. The numbers fell in the first quarter of 2023 despite an injunction that halted the law from going into effect during that period.

Ben Thorp/WFYI

Indiana providers performed more abortions in 2022 compared to every year since 2018, according to the latest state abortion count released by the Indiana Department of Health. But the number of abortions dropped in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year.

In total, Indiana providers performed more than 9,500 abortions in 2022, a 13 percent increase from the year before. But this data only captures abortions that happened within the health care system and were reported to IDOH. Women who obtain pills online and perform self-managed abortions are not accounted for in this report.

A fifth of the people who had an abortion in Indiana last year came from out of state –– a significant increase compared to every year since 2018. More than half of the people crossing state lines came from Kentucky –– a total of 950 people –– where there is a near-total abortion ban in effect. Ohio came in second, with 650 people traveling to Indiana for abortion care. The trend continued into the first quarter of 2023, with 90 percent of non-residents coming from Kentucky. 

But the IDOH report shows a 15 percent dip in the number of abortions performed in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

Medication abortions, using Mifepristone and Misoprostol, were slightly more common than surgical abortions in 2022 and the first quarter of 2023.

The IDOH report breaks down abortions by age of the patient, gestational age and demographics.

In 2022, the age range of women who obtained an abortion in Indiana was between 10 and 49, with an average age of 27. The vast majority were unmarried. Around 67 percent were 8 weeks pregnant or less. And nearly half identified as White and a little over a third identified as Black.

But Indiana will soon have its own near-total abortion ban after the state Supreme Court cleared the way for the law to take effect as soon as August.

“Now, patients will be forced either to flee the state to access abortion if they have the means, seek abortion outside of the health care system, or carry pregnancies against their will with profound medical risk and life-altering consequences,” read a joint statement from leaders from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, ACLU of Indiana, All-Options, The Lawyering Project, and Women’s Med.

There is another lawsuit challenging the abortion ban citing the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The plaintiffs argue that the abortion ban infringes on the rights of those whose religions accept and even encourage abortions in certain circumstances.

A Marion County judge temporarily halted the law from taking effect in that case, but only as it applies to the small handful of people who brought the suit. The judge later expanded the lawsuit to cover anyone whose religious beliefs clash with the abortion ban, but it's unclear how that now applies to enforcement of the ban.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith contributed reporting.

Contact WFYI health equity reporter Farah Yousry at fyousry@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @Farah_Yousrym.

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