A new president could reverse an FDA rule change that made it possible.
By RUTH READER
Doctors at online and brick and mortar primary care companies are slowly starting to prescribe medication abortion pills via telemedicine in states where it’s still legal following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision ending the constitutional right to the procedure.
The FDA has yet to update its rules to make way for large retail pharmacies to dispense medication abortion, limiting how patients can get pills. In the meantime, these companies are leaning on two mail-order pharmacies to fill their prescriptions.
New avenues are emerging, but logistical hassles are everywhere
By RUTH READER and BEN LEONARD
July 11, 2022
Demand for pills that end pregnancy has skyrocketed in states that have restricted abortion since the Supreme Court decision last month, and abortion clinics are reporting a rush for appointments in towns bordering those states.
Aid Access, a virtual abortion clinic based in the Netherlands, saw a 256 percent increase in people coming to its site in the 24 hours after the court’s June 24 decision.
Discreet and available by mail, abortion-inducing pills could make conservative abortion bans challenging to enforce.
By Brian Osgood
1 Jul 2022
The US Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that enshrined the legal right to abortion in the United States in federal law, reversing nearly 50 years of precedent and inflaming a sharp ideological divide.
The ruling last week was the result of decades of relentless organising by conservative anti-abortion rights groups in the US, which are now setting their sights on the fight to shape the post-Roe landscape.
As we brace for a post-Roe world, telemedicine companies like Hey Jane may be the future.
BY ROSA SANCHEZ
JUN 10 2022
Abortion rights are under attack in the United States, and for the first time since the passing of Roe v. Wade in 1973, the Supreme Court is dangerously close to removing abortion as a constitutionally-protected right.
If that happens, state governments will have the ability to either ban or protect abortion rights for their residents. That puts people wishing to end an early pregnancy in a conservative state in a dangerous situation—not only because they could be criminalized for getting an abortion, but because they could end up resorting to getting an unsafe abortion if no established medical professionals in their state are able to help. Another possible outcome, if abortion is banned in conservative states, is that pregnant people from those states wishing to have an abortion will travel to liberal states to get one—which could result in an impossibly high demand for established abortion clinics.
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.
Most abortions overseas involve pills, and the method is used in about half of legal U.S. abortions. It also seems to be the future of illicit abortion.
By Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz
May 9, 2022
Taking pills to end a pregnancy accounts for a growing share of abortions in the United States, both legal and not. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade as expected, medication abortion will play a larger role, especially among women who lose access to abortion clinics.
What is medication abortion?
It’s a regimen of pills that women can take at home, a method increasingly used around the world.
What will the future of abortion in America look like?
By Jessica Bruder
APRIL 4, 2022
One bright afternoon in early January, on a beach in Southern California, a young woman spread what looked like a very strange picnic across an orange polka-dot towel: A mason jar. A rubber stopper with two holes. A syringe without a needle. A coil of aquarium tubing and a one-way valve. A plastic speculum. Several individually wrapped sterile cannulas—thin tubes designed to be inserted into the body—which resembled long soda straws. And, finally, a three-dimensional scale model of the female reproductive system.
The two of us were sitting on the sand. The woman, whom I’ll call Ellie, had suggested that we meet at the beach; she had recently recovered from COVID-19, and proposed the open-air setting for my safety. She also didn’t want to risk revealing where she lives—and asked me to withhold her name—because of concerns about harassment or violence from anti-abortion extremists.
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.
Oct. 13, 2021
By Patrick Adams
In 2018, the Austria-based nonprofit Aid Access began offering Americans a new service: For the first time, pregnant people could obtain abortion pills by mail, with a prescription from a licensed physician, without ever visiting a clinic. For years, the group’s founder, Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, had been doing similar work overseas. But as abortion rights were steadily eroded by Republican-controlled legislatures, Dr. Gomperts found herself inundated with requests from the United States and decided to act.
Three years later, American abortion rights are more threatened than ever, with the fate of Roe v. Wade resting on several Supreme Court justices appointed by Donald Trump. In response, Aid Access has introduced a service that offers a possible path forward for doctors adapting to the changing abortion landscape and reckoning with their role in gate-keeping a politically fraught drug: prescribing abortion pills in advance, to be kept on hand in the event of a future unwanted pregnancy.