Louisiana abortions decreased at the start of the pandemic

Disruptions in the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted reproductive health services, including abortion. While many abortion clinics remained open and continued to provide care during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, most clinics in Louisiana did not. 

Photo of the state of Louisiana depicted in blue

In new research from ANSIRH, researchers examined changes in abortions in Louisiana before and after the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic. Abortion services in Louisiana were seriously disrupted during the early months of the pandemic in the U.S. Only one or two of the state’s three clinics were open through early May, with a median wait of more than two weeks.

Researchers found that the number of abortions in Louisiana decreased by 31% at the start of the pandemic. This decrease was not offset by an increase in out-of-state abortions. A higher percentage of abortions occurred in the second trimester during the pandemic than before.

This disruption may have been because Louisiana’s was an early coronavirus hotspot, as well as from an ambiguous order about whether abortion was an essential service. People who couldn’t get a clinic-based abortion may postpone seeking abortion, attempt to manage their own abortions, or continue their pregnancies. Findings suggest we might see an increase in births, meaning the pandemic may have indirect effects on maternal and child health in Louisiana.