Earlier this week, the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology published a study done by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco that investigated post-abortion complication rates. Between 2009 and 2010, researchers traced rates of major complications following 54,911 legal abortions. They defined major complications as issues that would require “hospital admission, surgery or blood transfusion.” Out of 54,911 abortion procedures, only 126 required treatment for major complications, or .23 percent. The press release accompanying the published study likened the safety of legal abortion procedures to the safety of colonoscopies – major complications occur in both procedures less than a quarter percent of the time. 

The researchers traced medication abortions, as well as first and second trimester abortions. All of the abortion procedures the researchers followed were obtained by California Medicaid patients, and the researchers acknowledged that focusing on Medicaid patients may have even resulted in a slightly exaggerated complication rate when compared to “the total group of women seeking abortions around the country,” since patients with private insurance coverage “may be healthier” overall.

In the end, the study concluded that, “Abortion complication rates are comparable to previously published rates.” These low complication rates mean that legal abortions, as they are currently performed, continue to be safe and that additional regulations in the name of “safety” aren’t necessary.