After 20 years in the U.S., medication abortion is finally widely accessible through telehealth. But a looming Supreme Court ruling could change all that.
BY RUTH READER
In April of this year, when some of Minnesota’s already few abortion clinics started to close because of the pandemic, a new organization popped up with a novel idea: It would bring abortion services to Minnesotans using a mobile clinic. Called Just The Pill, its goal was to connect the state’s most rural corners with medication abortion care, a two-pill regimen that can end a pregnancy.
In the past, it’s been hard for sexual health groups to get medication abortion to people in remote areas. The Food and Drug Administration restricts one of the medications, mifepristone, in several ways. Patients must take the pill at a clinic, for example. On top of that, states have their own rules that can further encumber access. However, the medical data overwhelmingly shows the abortion pill is safe, even to take at home alone. Health experts say politics—not data—are informing these rules.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2020
Rebecca Gomperts is one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people this year. The Dutch activist has dedicated her life to trying to get women safe access to abortions in countries where abortion is illegal.
Gomperts is the founder of Women on Waves, which involves a ship with an on board abortion clinic. Women are taken from countries where abortion is illegal by boat to this ship on international waters, where they can get the treatment they need.
For immediate release, September 23nd, 2020
Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, founder of Women on Web, Women on Waves and AidAccess, has been chosen among the 100 most influential people of the world in 2020 by Time magazine.
Cecile Richards writes for Time 100: "In this moment of fear and uncertainty, Gomperts is a beacon of hope, standing up for the principle that safe abortion is a human right."
The full list of the Time most influential people of 2020 can be seen here: time.com/time100
Changes to medical technology will change the politics of the country’s original culture war
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.
By: Alyssa Fisher
Aug 23, 2020
Entering her 50th year at Choices Women’s Medical Center, founder Merle Hoffman has witnessed a lot. Imagine launching a reproductive health center providing abortions two years before Roe v. Wade legalized it in 1973.
But it’s the COVID-19 pandemic, she says, that has been “one of the most, most challenging times that we’ve faced, I’ve faced.”
July 23, 2020
As some states rushed to restrict abortion amid the coronavirus pandemic, one new study has found an increased demand in self-managed abortions. Unsurprisingly, many of these requests are happening in states with more severe restrictions as well as more serious COVID-19 outbreaks.
The study, published in the Obstetrics and Gynecology journal, tracked requests for medication abortion by mail through data from Aid Access, an online medication abortion pill provider, during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic's spread and consequent lockdown measures in the U.S.
Interest in at-home abortions spiked most in states that used the outbreak as an excuse to restrict access to clinics.
Published Jul. 21, 2020
As the nation locked down for the coronavirus pandemic and some states used the virus as an excuse to further restrict abortion access, women around the country became concerned they might not be able to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. A new study suggests many of them may have turned to at-home options.
The study, released Tuesday by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, analyzed the number of requests sent to Aid Access, a website that mails abortion pills to women in the U.S., between January 1 and April 11. Across the country, they found a 27 percent increase in requests after March 20—the average date lockdown orders started in most states.
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.
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?”