Telemedicine Abortion Gains Momentum During Pandemic
— But FDA regulations on mifepristone still limit access
by Amanda D'Ambrosio, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
June 2, 2020
As access to in-person abortion clinics dwindled during the COVID-19 pandemic, providers have seen increased demand and awareness of another method of abortion care: telemedicine.
Melissa Grant, chief operating officer of carafem, a national abortion and birth control clinic, said that "there's definitely been a marked increase" in telemedicine abortions since stay-at-home orders were put in place.
Coronavirus pandemic is fueling efforts to increase access to abortion pills
Marie McCullough - The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
May 29, 2020
The pandemic is helping U.S. abortion-rights advocates achieve a long-standing goal: Make it easier for women to use pills to end pregnancies up to 10 weeks.
Federal and state regulations have restricted access to “medication abortion” ever since the Food and Drug Administration approved it two decades ago. Nonetheless, use of the two-drug regimen has grown steadily, accounting for at least 40% of all abortions, even as the national abortion rate has fallen to historic lows, data show.
Feminist Multi-Front Battle to End FDA’s Abortion Pill Restriction
by Carrie N. Baker
Feminists have been fighting a defensive battle to protect abortion rights for years—but today some are taking the offense, pushing to expand abortion access by calling for the removal of FDA restriction on the abortion pill mifepristone.
Formerly known as RU-486, mifepristone ends pregnancy by blocking the effects of the hormone progesterone, which sustains pregnancy. Used in combination with another drug—misoprostol, which causes contractions to complete an abortion—mifepristone is extremely safe.
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.
No-Test Medication Abortion Increases Safety and Access During COVID-19
A new study proposes an innovative, no-test medication abortion protocol that would enable clinicians to safely administer medication abortion to patients without any preliminary tests or in-person encounters
by Carrie N. Baker
Imagine a world where women could access safe and supported abortion health care without ever leaving their homes. In this world, after a phone call or video conference with a health care professional, women could receive the abortion pill in the mail, which they could take safely in the privacy of their own homes under the supervision of a clinician.
No invasive, time-consuming pelvic exams or blood tests. No state-mandated ultrasounds or waiting periods requiring multiple visits. No walking past lines of screaming anti-abortion protesters. No driving long distances, having to find and pay for child care, or taking time off from work. No exposure to COVID-19.
From Poland To Uruguay, What The Pandemic Means For Abortion
Michaela Kozminova, WORLDCRUNCH
Across the globe, swamped hospitals and shelter-in-place measures have impacted people's access to healthcare for any number of non-COVID-19 issues. One of them is abortion, a time sensitive procedure that is also — even the best of times — both emotionally and politically charged.
Now, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, some countries have used emergency decrees to change their policies related to pregnancy terminations. While several have extended access to abortions in an effort to ease pressure on women and guarantee their rights, others have seen the situation as an opportunity to make abortions more difficult to access.
Amid Covid-19, a Call for M.D.s to Mail the Abortion Pill
For decades, the consensus has been that F.D.A. regulations require that the abortion pill be obtained in a clinic. But that’s changing.
By Patrick Adams
May 12, 2020
Last fall, months before America’s first outbreak of the coronavirus, Francine Coeytaux and Elisa Wells, co-founders of the abortion rights advocacy group Plan C, were reaching out to doctors with a question they said was urgent:
“Would you be willing to mail the ‘abortion pills’ to women in their homes?”
For many women, abortion access was already limited. Then COVID-19 hit
Coronavirus—and restrictions on “elective procedures” in states like Texas—have made accessing reproductive healthcare harder than ever. But providers are getting creative.
By Pavithra Mohanlong Read
On a Thursday in early April, Shanthi Ramesh saw three patients back to back. They were all healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Two of them worked in a local emergency room, while the other was driving up to New York the next day to volunteer at a hospital.
They had another thing in common: All three women had gone to Ramesh’s clinic to get an abortion.
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 Pandemic Means More People May Be Giving Themselves Abortions
But the abortion pill sites people rely on are in jeopardy.
by Marie Solis
Apr 8 2020
The first time H* needed an abortion, she drove about two hours to the nearest clinic and back, waited 48 hours—the required waiting period for anyone in Tennessee seeking an abortion—then went back and paid more than $700 for the procedure. That’s not counting gas money for eight hours of driving, or the wages she lost when she took time off from her hourly job for the appointment.
In March, she learned she was pregnant again, and found herself confronting many of the same barriers to getting an abortion: The clinic was still far away, the procedure was still costly, and she would still have to take off a day or two to account for the waiting period and the drives to and from the clinic.