Scotland – Abortion rules revolutionised by Covid-19 must stay

Jillian Merchant
Monday December 21 2020

At the start of the pandemic the Scottish government, at the urging of medical practitioners and activists, issued guidance allowing early medical abortion at home to prevent unnecessary risk to women and clinicians.

This enabled women in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to attend medical appointments by telephone or video call before, where clinically appropriate, being sent the two abortion pills to take at home. This is now subject to a public consultation on making the change permanent.


How the pandemic revolutionised abortion access in the UK

Since patients have been allowed to take pills at home to terminate pregnancies, major medical complications have dropped by two-thirds.

15 DECEMBER 2020

When national lockdown was imposed at the end of March, and in-person access to healthcare was limited, the government initially flip-flopped over temporary changes to abortion laws.

Yet from the beginning of April, it approved measures to allow patients within the first ten weeks of pregnancy to take abortion pills at home after a telephone call or e-consultation with a clinician. Previously, these would have been face-to-face appointments.


Abortion by pill is becoming more widespread in America

Changes to medical technology will change the politics of the country’s original culture war

The Economist
Sep 19th 2020 edition

When women used to tell Susan Long (not her real name), a doctor in Washington state, that they wanted to terminate a pregnancy, she would refer them to an abortion clinic. Today, they need not even walk into her office: after an online consultation, she prescribes two pills, which she posts, along with instructions on how to take them several hours apart.

It is difficult to exaggerate the benefit for “innumerable” women of being able to have an abortion at home, without having to arrange a trip to a clinic, she says, describing some of them. The university student living with her conservative parents, hundreds of miles from the nearest abortion clinic. The woman whose violent husband is vehemently pro-life. Single mothers, strapped for cash and child care. Those whose frail health prevents them risking exposure to covid-19 at a doctor’s office.


The pandemic shows a better way to handle abortion

It is safe and efficient for early terminations to take place at home

Sep 19th 2020
The Economist

For most women deciding how or when to give birth, covid-19 has been a nightmare. Fertility treatments have paused, sexual-health clinics closed and partners been banned from delivery rooms. Yet the pandemic has brought one silver lining. It has shown a better way to carry out early-stage abortions.

Abortion is legal in most of the world, and relatively straightforward in most rich countries. But obstacles remain. They include compulsory waiting times and mandatory counselling. Perhaps the most common obstacle is that the first step in medical abortions (which involve drugs rather than surgery) must take place in clinics. Yet temporary measures set up during the pandemic suggest this is often unnecessary. These temporary measures should now become permanent.


USA – FDA urged to let women get abortion drugs by mail during coronavirus crisis

Donna Miller
August 16, 2020

The FDA is being urged to let women obtain abortion-inducing drugs by means of the mail amid the coronavirus slightly than have to go away their houses to get them.

“Whereas any girl who desires to go into a health care provider’s workplace or right into a clinic at the moment and get an abortion ought to proceed to have the opportunity to achieve this, management over one’s reproductive freedom shouldn’t be restricted to these ready to go away their houses as we battle the coronavirus,” New York Lawyer Normal Letitia James mentioned in an announcement Monday — echoing a letter despatched by her and 20 different high law-enforcement officers to the FDA urging an easing-up of restrictions.


USA – More Patients Seek Abortion Pills Online During Pandemic, But Face Restrictions

More Patients Seek Abortion Pills Online During Pandemic, But Face Restrictions

May 28, 2020
Sarah McCammon

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.


ACOG Suit Petitions the FDA to Remove Burdensome Barriers to Reproductive Care During COVID-19

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

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?

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

Buying pills online for an at-home abortion: a lockdown reality

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.