ACOG Suit Petitions the FDA to Remove Burdensome Barriers to Reproductive Care During COVID-19
May 27, 2020
Washington, DC – The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) took another step toward achieving equitable access to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic by asking a federal court to require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to suspend a harmful FDA restriction on mifepristone. Joining ACOG as plaintiffs in today’s lawsuit are the Council of University Chairs of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the New York Academy of Family Physicians, and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.
Mifepristone is an evidence-based treatment prescribed for management of early pregnancy loss as well as induced abortion. Although mifepristone has long been proven to be safe and effective when prescribed through telemedicine and can be safely taken in the comfort of a patient’s home, outdated FDA restrictions require mifepristone to be dispensed in a hospital, clinic, or medical office.
Google search data reveals American’s concerns about abortion
By Kara Manke
May 21, 2020
Residents of states with limited access to contraceptives and high rates of unplanned pregnancies are more likely to turn to the internet for information about abortion. These are the findings of a new study of Google search data across all 50 states by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
The results suggest that policies that limit access to birth control — such as the Title X gag rule, which restricts federal funding from clinics that provide birth control if they also provide abortion information or referrals — lead people to seek out family planning information online.
Could Coronavirus Make Telemedicine Abortion the New Normal?
Clinics are expanding access with virtual visits and sending pills by mail.
By Anna Louie Sussman
May 19, 2020
Terri first realized she was pregnant in late March. She was isolating at home with her boyfriend in rural upstate New York, where she runs a housecleaning business. At 46, she was sure she didn’t want to become a 60-year-old parent to a teenager. “I was like, ‘No, that’s not going to happen,’” says Terri, who asked to be identified by her first name only. She called the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic, a 40-minute drive away, and took the first appointment available, which was a week-and-a-half later. Uninsured, Terri says she planned to show up at the clinic and “throw [herself] at their mercy.”
But before her appointment, she read about telemedicine abortion. All that was required was a phone consultation with a doctor to establish whether she was less than 10 weeks pregnant (the limit for medication abortion’s approved use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration). Once proven, the clinic would deliver abortion pills by mail, allowing for a quiet, non-surgical procedure at home. For Terri, this was a far better option than potentially exposing herself to COVID-19 at a clinic.
Buying pills online for an at-home abortion: a lockdown reality
Lucie AUBOURG, AFP News
9 May 2020
With the coronavirus crisis raging, women in the United States are increasingly going online to buy their own pills for a "self-managed" abortion
One week after Sally realized she was pregnant, her home state Texas temporarily banned abortions, deeming them unnecessary elective procedures that were suspended because of the coronavirus crisis.
In Poland, Abortion Access Worsens Amid Pandemic
Abortions were already difficult to obtain and then came the coronavirus.
By Jessica Bateman, Marta Kasztelan
May 1, 2020
The woman was 21 weeks pregnant when she contacted Abortion Without Borders (AWB), a network of activist groups that advises Polish women on how to access safe terminations. Normally, it would have been relatively simple to book a flight to the United Kingdom, where she could legally access a second-trimester abortion. But the coronavirus outbreak changed everything.
“We got her an appointment, but travel was a different matter,” said Mara Clarke, the founder of Abortion Support Network (ASN), which is part of AWB and helps women obtain abortions overseas. Poland closed its borders and grounded all flights and cross-border public transportation on March 15, meaning the woman would have had to travel to the German border, cross it, and take a train to one of Berlin’s airports.
Abortion by Telemedicine: A Growing Option as Access to Clinics Wanes
The coronavirus has created a surge in demand for telemedicine of all types — including for a quietly expanding program for terminating pregnancies.
By Pam Belluck
April 28, 2020
Ashley Dale was grateful she could end her pregnancy at home.
As her 3-year-old daughter played nearby, she spoke by video from her living room in Hawaii with Dr. Bliss Kaneshiro, an obstetrician-gynecologist, who was a 200-mile plane ride away in Honolulu. The doctor explained that two medicines that would be mailed to Ms. Dale would halt her pregnancy and cause a miscarriage.
The UK allows home use of the abortion pill — the US should do the same
By Susan F. Wood and Cynthia Pearson, opinion contributors
In late March, the United Kingdom issued new guidance authorizing physicians to provide medication abortion pills to those wishing to end their pregnancies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The change was immediately embraced by the public and by British abortion providers who know home use is a safe and effective way to experience an early abortion.
British patients who need an early abortion now consult with a provider by telephone or video link and the medication abortion pills are then delivered to the patient’s home. This is a safe, sensible way to protect pregnant women and their doctors during an epidemic. British leaders and medical experts are to be commended for recognizing that abortion is an essential health care service that can be provided safely within the constraints of physical distancing and stay-at-home orders.
Opinion: During COVID-19 crisis, lift barriers to reproductive health care — including abortion
By Anu Kumar
27 April 2020
As COVID-19 spreads worldwide, upending life as we know it, governments around the globe are facing massive challenges in containing the new coronavirus and protecting lives. But even in this time of crisis — in fact, especially in this time of crisis — pregnancy care, including abortion care, remains an essential health service.
Abortion is time-sensitive and cannot be significantly deferred without profound consequences for women and their families. While conservatives in the U.S. have pounced on the political “opportunity” that the coronavirus pandemic presents to advance their ideology, countries in the global south are struggling to meet all the needs of their citizens, including the need for safe abortion care.
Dundee charity boss concerned for women who experience abortion or miscarriage during ‘isolating’ lockdown
by Frances Rougvie
April 25, 2020
The boss of a Dundee charity has said she is “concerned” for the emotional wellbeing of women who have experienced a miscarriage or abortion during the coronavirus lockdown.
Rachel MacDonald, centre manager of Alternatives Dundee, has urged those in need to reach out during this “very isolating time”.
As a result of Covid-19, women across Scotland can now have early medical abortions at home, to help reduce the number of people attending clinics and avoid exposing them to the virus.
How the pandemic forced long-overdue abortion law reform
Sensible policy changes may leave women wondering: why wasn’t it like this before?
by Phoebe Arslanagic-Wakefield
April 22, 2020
The current crisis places us in an extraordinary state of flux and society may never return to normal. Post-Covid-19, employers may struggle to talk employees back onto their commutes and into the office, certain industries may never recover, and the government’s generous financial support packages may be hard to row back. Indeed, the changes initiated are proving highly disruptive to norms, some which have evolved over time to become meaningless shibboleths.
One such reactionary norm is that, under English law, women seeking to abort an early pregnancy (prior to ten weeks) must take the first of the two pills necessary for the termination in an abortion clinic, and only the second pill may be taken in the comfort of their own homes. Women also need the approval of two doctors to access the medication—telephone consultations are not permitted.