It’s more than an unproven medical treatment—it’s a view into the antiabortion movement’s larger project.
Sep 5, 2022
THE AMERICAN ANTIABORTION movement is on a full-court press to remake the nation in its image. In June, its decades-long campaign to install sympathetic Supreme Court justices paid off with the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, which stripped away the constitutional right to abortion. Now, the movement is pushing for draconian personhood laws (legislation granting fetuses the same rights as people) in an effort to make abortion murder.
In some states, the push is already working. In Georgia, for example, a new law allows expecting parents to claim fetuses as dependents on their tax returns. These victories are the result of a shrewd, ambitious strategy. The rise of an experimental treatment known as abortion pill “reversal” is part of this plan. Although it might appear a peripheral concern—hardly anyone actually seeks out this treatment—it’s a distinctly revealing pet project. The story of the rise of abortion pill reversal contains the antiabortion movement’s blueprint within it.
With Roe on the brink, more experts are talking about advance provision of mifepristone and misoprostol.
By Rachel M. Cohen
Jun 22, 2022
Medication abortion, or taking a combination of the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, is an increasingly common method for ending pregnancies in the United States. Reasons vary and overlap: Some women lack access to in-person abortion clinics; others prefer to end pregnancies in the comfort of their own home. Others seek out the pills because they cost far less than surgical abortion.
With more in-person clinics shuttering and a Supreme Court that’s threatening to overturn Roe v. Wade, a small but growing number of reproductive experts have been encouraging discussion of an idea called “advance provision” — or, more colloquially, stocking up on abortion pills in case one needs them later.
Inside telemedicine’s rocky road to bring abortion care into the 21st century.
Updated May. 28, 2022
As Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance, telemedicine startups offering mail-order abortion pills are scrambling to meet surges in demand for remote abortion care across the United States. These sleek, modern tech companies like Hey Jane, Just the Pill, and Carafem claim to offer safe, seamless, and effective abortion care at a distance.
Leah Coplon, a nurse midwife, abortion provider, and director of clinical operations at tele-abortion company Abortion on Demand, told The Daily Beast that countless patients remind her of the essential nature of this digital approach—patients who are living with abusive partners and are stealthily obtaining pills, patients in rural areas of the country where travelling to a clinic poses challenges, young people who do not feel safe disclosing their need for care, and those with common everyday obstacles like getting time off work, childcare, or transportation.
Restrictive states have already set their sights on a new wave of telehealth companies that were supposed to be a panacea for a post-Roe world.
By Julia Craven
Mar 29, 2022
When Emma found out she was pregnant in February, it was too late for an in-clinic abortion.
She estimated that she was at six weeks, but Texas, a bastion of retrograde abortion policy, bans the procedure at roughly that mark, so any local options were out of the question. Her local Planned Parenthood told her to prepare to travel out of state and offered to connect her with a clinic. Emma, who takes medication that makes her cycle irregular, wanted an ultrasound to confirm her recollection of the gestation age. But the clinic didn’t have an appointment for the next two weeks.
But it left other unnecessary restrictions in place, reminding us that abortion care is treated differently.
By Daniel Grossman
Dec 20, 2021
It took a pandemic, a lawsuit and an eight-month review of the evidence, but the Food and Drug Administration has finally loosened some of the restrictions it imposed 21 years ago on mifepristone, which is used together with a second medication, misoprostol, for medication abortion. While the FDA could have gone further, this move is based on solid scientific evidence and will improve access to abortion care for at least some people.
At issue was the FDA’s risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS, an extra layer of regulatory scrutiny that the agency applies to a small number of drugs that have safety concerns. Given decades-long experience with mifepristone and documenting the safety of the medication, physicians and researchers have been urging the FDA for years to remove mifepristone’s REMS. Not only was there no clear rationale about how the restrictions on mifepristone improved the drug’s safety, but there are many medications, including Viagra, with more significant risks without a REMS.
Rachel Bluth, Kaiser Health News
Nov 18, 2021
SACRAMENTO — With access to abortion at stake across America, California is preparing to become the nation’s abortion provider.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders have asked a group of reproductive health experts to propose policies to bolster the state’s abortion infrastructure and ready it for more patients. Lawmakers plan to begin debating the ideas when they reconvene in January.
Making the abortion pill available through pharmacies on prescription can improve abortion access—especially for those without an abortion clinic nearby.
by DANIEL GROSSMAN and SALLY RAFIE
In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities to abortion care across the country. Last spring, at least 11 states attempted to exploit the crisis to enact additional abortion restrictions, falsely labeling it non-essential care.
In an attempt to ease abortion access during the pandemic, a federal judge in July 2020 halted the in-person dispensing requirement for the abortion pill to allow patients to receive it by mail. However, this was reversed by the Supreme Court’s decision in January 2021 to once again enforce federal restrictions and clamp down on access to this critical medicine.
Medication abortion was briefly available online in some states, but a court ruling blocked it. Advocates want it back.
BY REBECCA GRANT
LAST SUMMER, Cindy Adam and Lauren Dubey received the news they had hoped for, but hadn’t expected to get so soon. Their new telemedicine clinic would be able to offer remote medication abortion services, at least for the time being.
Medication abortion — which most commonly involves taking two medications, 24 to 48 hours apart, during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy — has been available in the U.S. since 2000. But, despite a growing chorus of advocates and experts who say remote access is just as safe as in-clinic care, the Food and Drug Administration requires providers to dispense mifepristone, the first of the two medications, inside the walls of a clinic, hospital, or medical office, citing the risk of complications. Most abortion providers interpreted this language to mean they could not mail mifepristone to patients’ homes, rendering fully remote abortion care impossible.
The Court requires in-person visits for patients seeking medication abortion despite the risks of COVID-19.
Mar 15, 2021
Carrie N. Baker
In January, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a Trump Administration request to reinstate a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule requiring patients seeking a medication abortion to make a medically unnecessary in-person visit to their health care provider to pick up the abortion pill mifepristone.
The Court’s decision in FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reverses a federal district court ruling from last July that suspended the FDA rule during the pandemic. In that lower court decision, Judge Theodore Chuang ruled that the FDA’s required in-person visit imposed a “substantial obstacle” to abortion health care that is likely unconstitutional.
They’re Doctors. They’re Also Incredibly Effective—and Dangerous—Anti-Abortion Activists.
Your OB-GYN could be one of them.
June 4, 2020
In April 2019, when meetings like this still took place, Diane Foley took the stage in Indianapolis, looking out into the faces of anti-choice advocates and doctors who were gathered for their annual conference. The Health and Human Services official began her presentation: “Opportunities for Collaborative Engagement in Policy Development.” The bland, policy-wonkish title belied its almost-revolutionary substance: nothing less than a major shift in American health care—and a threat to the more than 4 million primarily low-income people who rely on a key government program for family planning and other care.
Title X, which Foley oversees as the head of the Office of Population Affairs—and which also includes the government’s teen pregnancy program—offers health care providers more than $286 million in funding each year. Just a month before her presentation, a new rule passed that would, for the first time, prohibit Title X recipients from performing abortions on-site or even providing abortion referrals. This effectively shut out a quarter of all clinics that were getting funding—including Planned Parenthood, which has traditionally received some $60 million a year from the program and provides more than 2.4 million patients with a slew of services, from birth control to cancer screenings to wellness exams.