JEFFERSON CITY, MO (AP) — The Missouri health department says pill abortions in Missouri declined last year after the state began requiring pelvic exams on patients seeking the procedure.

The Department of Health and Senior Services says Missouri doctors performed 359 pill abortions last year, compared to 982 in 2017.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the 2017 figures don't include all pill abortions from November and December of that year.

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the state agency and a licensed obstetrician, said the reduction was at least partly because fewer women chose to have pill abortions after Missouri began enforcing a pelvic exam requirement early last year. He says many of the women seeking medication abortions now go to Illinois.

The state says 12.3% of all abortions in Missouri last year were medication abortions.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.

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