Abortion Prices Then & Now
The cost of abortion has increased over the past 50 years. Immediately following the legalization of abortion in 1973, the price for a first trimester abortion was between $125 and $200, equivalent to about $650 or $1,050 today (1974 NYT). Hospital abortions were much pricier with costs around $350, equivalent to about $1,800 today (1973 NYT). First trimester abortions were usually performed by vacuum aspiration in which the uterus is emptied via suction. Abortions in the second trimester ranged from $300 to $400 plus hospital costs. Second trimester abortions could cost as much as $1,400, equivalent to about $7,260 today. Second trimester abortions were performed with a saline solution that promotes labor.
Now, almost 50 years later, the vacuum extractions performed in the first trimester can cost upwards of $1,500 without insurance. The price for a dilation and extraction (D&E), usually performed in the second trimester, is more expensive. In addition, abortion costs differ by geographic location. Generally, abortions performed at hospitals are more expensive. Early medical abortions, such as using the abortion pill, cost around $504 (Guttmacher Institute).
Insurance does not always cover abortion. 26 states restrict abortion coverage through insurace plans, and 11 states have laws that limit private insurance-covered abortions (Guttmacher Institute). Additionally, Medicaid will only cover abortions in instances of rape, incest, or life endangerment. Planned Parenthood, however, works to make abortion more affordable by using a sliding scale based on income. Several activist organizations provide funding to cover abortion costs for low income individuals.