How Much Does an Abortion Cost?

An abortion is one option for pregnant women that are unable to take care of a child at the current point in their life. The cost of an abortion is an important deciding factor for women considering this choice. The average cost of an abortion was approximately $468 in 2001. Due to inflation, the cost has risen substantially since this time. However, subsidies for women and healthcare facilities influence the price, resulting in a current average out of pocket cost of about $375 for most patients. Despite this average price, the amount a women will pay for an abortion is not static. Instead, the price of an individual abortion depends on how far the pregnancy has progressed, where the abortion is performed, and what insurance or other financial assistance is available.

Pregnancy Progression

The most important factor in the cost of an abortion is how many weeks the pregnancy has progressed. 88% of abortions are performed in the first trimester, or first twelve weeks, of pregnancy. During this time, many more options are available. The cost is also typically cheaper during the first trimester, as compared to the second and third trimesters. Women who are still in the initial nine weeks of the first trimester may be able to get a medication abortion. Medication abortions involved taking a pill, such as RU486 or mifepristone, which causes the woman to spontaneously abort the fetus and tissue. Many women prefer this option as it does not involve surgery and can take place in the privacy of home. Not only is this procedure less invasive, it is often cheaper than a surgical abortion. A medication abortion will cost approximately $350 to $650, while a surgical abortion during the first trimester will cost between $350 and $900. In general, the cost of an abortion goes up as the number of weeks of pregnancy go up. However, some facilities do charge more for medication abortions, which only occur in the initial weeks, so it is important to discuss all options with a doctor.

Beyond the second trimester, it is typically very difficult to find a doctor willing to perform the procedure. This, in addition to increased risk, contribute to the much higher cost of second trimester abortions. Third trimester abortions are even more complicated, and are banned in many states unless sufficient medical reason is presented.

Abortion Location

Abortions can be performed in hospitals, women’s health clinics, or doctor’s offices. The cost of an abortion can vary depending on the location. In general, hospitals and doctor’s offices charge more than women’s health clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, which frequently have subsidies to help offset the costs of the procedure. However, those with comprehensive health insurance will likely pay the same amount no matter which option they choose. Despite cost differences, women who are at a high risk may be better off at a hospital, which is equipped to deal with any emergencies that can occur during the course of the procedure.

Paying For An Abortion

The decision to have an abortion is hard enough without considering how the procedure must be paid for. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 87% of healthcare plans cover the costs of an abortion. Those who have healthcare coverage can consult their insurance provider or abortion provider to determine how much of the procedure will be covered. Unfortunately, many people have insufficient healthcare coverage. In fact, less than half of Americans are covered by insurance plans that will cover an abortion. There are still options for those not covered by insurance. Facilities such as Planned Parenthood work with pregnant women to find alternative insurance options or subsidies to help offset the costs. This can help reduce the cost of the procedure, even if it does not pay for it completely. Some clinics or doctor’s offices may also be willing to offer the option of a payment plan, allowing the procedure to be paid for over the course of many months.

Although no woman wants to go through the emotional turmoil involved in choosing an abortion, many women make this choice each year. While this procedure can be expensive, it is nothing compared to the cost of raising a child. Fortunately, various subsidies and low-cost clinics offer options to women that are unable to pay for a costly procedure. Additionally, despite the difficulty involved in opting for an abortion, making a decision during the first nine weeks of pregnancy can minimize the cost of this procedure. Discussing various options with a number of women’s healthcare providers is the best way to find an affordable and safe abortion.