Garnet Henderson, Truthout
November 26, 2022
In 2020, a federal judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must suspend its requirement that patients pick up mifepristone, one of the pills used in medication abortion, in person. After some back-and-forth under the Trump administration, the FDA permanently repealed the rule, which had long been decried by medical experts as unnecessary, in 2021.
This opened the door for providers to send abortion pills by mail in all but the 19 states that outlaw provision of abortion via telemedicine. (Many of those same states now ban abortion entirely.) This regulation change, along with increased popular interest in abortion access following Roe’s overturn, has led to a proliferation of telemedicine companies offering abortion pills. Some of these companies are run by people with prior experience in abortion care and connections in the reproductive health, rights and justice movements; others are not. Regardless, some abortion access advocates are raising concerns about whether the rise of for-profit telemedicine companies is the best way to serve abortion seekers.
A colorful crowd of doctors, researchers and women’s activists convened in the Latvian capital to explore ways to use pills to circumvent anti-abortion laws.
By EMILY SCHULTHEIS
RIGA, Latvia — For two sunny, crisp autumn days in mid-September, Riga’s Stradiņš University felt like the epicenter of a self-styled global civil rights movement: to give every person, in every culture or country, regardless of laws, access to abortion pills.
In the hallways, women pored over posters showing the latest research on the effectiveness of abortion pills and other developments in abortion and contraception care. Representatives from pharmaceutical companies enthusiastically pitched their medications and products to doctors sipping coffee and tea during a break between panels. There were graphic novels about an at-home medical abortion and T-shirts printed with women’s self-stated reasons for ending a pregnancy; there were slogans printed on T-shirts like “Make Abortion Legal Again” and a video promoting abortion rights to the tune of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”
Mail order businesses in India are shipping the pills to women in the US
By Bruce Einhorn and Dhwani Pandya
November 3, 2022
Angry over the US Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade in June, Deborah Willoughby wanted to do more than attend a rally or make a donation. So she sat down at her computer and placed an order for a pack of abortion pills from India sold under the brand name Unwanted.
India has many online pharmacies offering to sell mifepristone and misoprostol, drugs commonly used to terminate pregnancies — no questions asked and no prescription required. Plan C, an American group that provides information on how to obtain at-home abortion medication, needed volunteers to test online suppliers’ delivery claims. Willoughby signed up and placed an order via Secureabortionpills.com, which describes itself as an online international pharmacy selling generic drugs.
A network of activists is helping women terminate pregnancies in countries where the procedure is banned.
BY CARLO MARTUSCELLI, EMILY SCHULTHEIS, MANDOLINE RUTKOWSKI AND JAKUB KORUS
OCTOBER 29, 2022
RIGA — If you want to get an abortion in Poland, Kinga Jelinska is happy to help. Legally terminating your pregnancy is almost impossible in the Eastern European country. Abortion is only allowed in the case of rape or incest, or when it threatens the life of the woman.
That’s where Jelinska comes in. She’s the co-founder and executive director of Women Help Women, an Amsterdam-based nonprofit that helps provide women with the pills needed for an at-home medical abortion. The service Jelinska’s group provides falls into a legal grey zone; self-induced abortion is illegal in a number of countries, but in Poland, it’s not explicitly banned.
Medical abortions are a global success story, and not one that will be easily derailed by the legislative backsliding in the US. Time, now, to close the access gaps, report Sally Howard and Geetanjali Krishna
BMJ 2022; 379
doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o2349 (Published 19 October 2022)
Sally Howard, Geetanjali Krishna
In 2021, a 20 year old woman in Hyderabad, India, discovered she was pregnant.
A well educated, city girl, she was nevertheless afraid of the stigma attached
to unmarried pregnancy and did not know if she could legally terminate the
pregnancy. Around the same time, another young couple living together in
Bengaluru were in a similar predicament.
“Both women were not ready for a child but completely clueless about the
options they had, and the gestation period up to which abortion is legally
allowed in India,” says Anusha Pilli, a doctor who practises privately in
Hyderabad. Pilli helped both women to get medical abortions before their first
These new efforts, which test the legal boundaries, have sprung up since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and many states restricted abortion.
By Pam Belluck
Sept. 3, 2022
As bans and restrictions proliferate across the country, abortion pill providers are pushing the envelope of regulations and laws to meet the surging demand for medication abortion in post-Roe America.
Some are using physician discretion to prescribe pills to patients further along in pregnancy than the 10-week limit set by the Food and Drug Administration. Some are making pills available to women who are not pregnant but feel they could need them someday. Some are employing a don’t-ask-don’t-tell approach, providing telemedicine consultations and prescriptions without verifying that patients are in states that permit abortion.
Mail-forwarding services and telehealth appointments from border-state parking lots circumvent state bans on FDA-approved drugs
By Christopher Rowland
July 6, 2022
Before spreading the word about how to circumvent state bans on abortion pills, Elisa Wells conducted a trial run of sorts, using dried garbanzo beans.
Wells, co-founder of the nonprofit abortion advocacy website Plan C, was testing whether commercial mail-forwarding services could serve as a link in a surreptitious supply chain from abortion-friendly states to states where abortion pills are banned.
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.
BY ABIGAIL ABRAMS AND JAMIE DUCHARME
MAY 31, 2022
If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer, as a leaked draft opinion suggests it may, abortion will likely be banned or severely restricted in about half of the United States. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the country will return to a world before 1973, when the landmark Supreme Court case enshrined a constitutional right to abortion.
Abortion pills, which can be ordered online and delivered by mail, have already fundamentally changed reproductive rights in America. The regimen of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, can in theory be safely taken anywhere, including in the privacy of people’s homes, eliminating the need to undergo a procedure, travel out of state, take time off work, or confront protestors outside of a clinic. In part because of this convenience, abortion pills—also known as medication abortion—are now the most common method of ending a pregnancy in the U.S.
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.