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.
Getting an Abortion During Lockdown Is Easier Than You Think
New telemedicine services mean that most people in the UK are now able to perform their own abortions at home.
by Beth Ashley
02 June 2020
When lockdown was introduced in the UK, no one could have predicted its scale or impact. Every aspect of normal life has been affected by it – and those seeking an abortion haven’t been exempt, either.
Ellie*, 22, became pregnant in early April. She knew that she didn’t want to continue the pregnancy but was terrified she wouldn’t be able to get a termination due to COVID-19. “There was so much in the news and on social media through March about delayed and cancelled abortions in England,” she told VICE. “People had been campaigning against the [cancellations] all over Twitter. I was terrified about what might happen to me.”
Abortion During Pandemic: Whose Crime Is It Anyway?
This article has been collectively written by members of NGOs working on safe abortion advocacy.
May 30, 2020
On 12th May 2020, mainstream newspapers reported that an abortion pill overdose allegedly resulted in a woman’s death in Mumbai. Her husband, in-laws, family doctor, husband’s friend and the medical representative who supplied the pills have all been booked under Section 314 of the Indian Penal Code as well as Sections 4 and 5(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. While the police were prompt in responding to the complaint of foul play, the news items raise some questions about the process of investigation, reporting as well as the restrictions on pregnant persons’ access to the healthcare services they need, especially in the context of the current pandemic crisis.
To begin with, it is not clear from the report how the conclusion about “overdose” of medical abortion pills was reached. Autopsy reports usually indicate the cause of death in terms of the complication or physical condition which led to death; in this case it was excessive bleeding. The reports do not mention whether the autopsy was followed by further investigations that suggested drug overdose. Moreover, there is no mention of whether the woman’s medical history was explored to rule out any other contributing cause or complication.
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.
More Patients Seek Abortion Pills Online During Pandemic, But Face Restrictions
May 28, 2020
Even before the coronavirus crisis, there were lots of abortion restrictions in South Dakota. But now the procedure has become unavailable, officials say.
"I called to make the appointment and they said the Sioux Falls location was closed [for abortions] because of the coronavirus," said 34-year-old Heather. NPR agreed not to use her last name because she doesn't want people in her largely conservative community to know about her abortion.
Thai pro-choice activists push for tele-medicine abortion pills during COVID-19 outbreak
by Teirra Kamolvattanavith
May 28, 2020
Despite an increase in unplanned pregnancies in Thailand, safe access to legal abortion has diminished amidst the pandemic. The groups believe tele-medicine could be a solution especially for women in remote areas.
On Friday May 15, choose network Thailand, 55 other civil society organizations and 559 petitioners handed in a letter to the Department of Health, to demand for measures to ensure women can access safe abortions during the pandemic and in the future.
In a country where safe and legal abortions are available — most women with unplanned pregnancies resort to unsafe procedures due to many reasons including social stigma, lack of information and access to safe facilities.
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.
Caring For The Women Having Abortions During A Pandemic
17 May 2020
I’m an abortion care nurse at a Marie Stopes clinic in Manchester. I always feel incredibly passionate about my job but the coronavirus crisis has really brought that home.
I’ll never forget one woman I cared for shortly after lockdown was announced. She was so scared about the virus that she asked me to scan her with my arm outstretched fully so that I wouldn’t be too close to her. She was wearing gloves and a mask. She was completely petrified.
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.