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.
UBC-led study offers lessons for other nations on deregulating mifepristone
UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, Research News
NEWS RELEASE 14-SEP-2020
Removing restrictions on how mifepristone--the medical abortion drug--can be prescribed and dispensed in Canada greatly improved access to abortion, especially in rural communities across the country.
That's one of
the key findings of new University of British Columbia-led research published
today in the Annals of Family Medicine.
by Marge Berer
26 August 2020
Telemedicine for abortion care is the use of communications technology to arrange an abortion in a clinical setting or self-managed by the woman at home with medical abortion pills and for follow-up after the abortion. For International Safe Abortion Day, 28 September 2020, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion (ICWRSA) is promoting the use of telemedicine to arrange and follow-up an abortion and to support women’s right to have an abortion at home in the first trimester of pregnancy with medical abortion pills if she so chooses.
This discussion paper provides a history of how the use of telemedicine
and self-managed abortion with abortion pills at home have developed.
Initially, in Brazil in the 1980s, women shared information about the use of
misoprostol informally. Then, feminist-run safe abortion information hotlines
were set up, starting in 2005, to provide women with the information they need
(and in some cases provide the pills) to have an abortion at home. There are
currently one or more such hotlines in at least 26 countries in all world
regions. More recently, health professionals began to use what is now called
telemedicine (or telehealth) for this same purpose. This paper is about telemedicine
and the conditions that make self-managed abortion safe, and gives examples of
abortion services that put telemedicine and self-managed abortion together. It
also covers the role pharmacies can and are playing in support of these
A new study throws light on the availability
of prescription-based medical abortion drugs with chemists as a way to prevent
early abortion care costs among other benefits for women exercising their
choice of terminating pregnancy
Written by Jayashree Narayanan
Published: August 19, 2020
Marking 49 years of the inception of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP)
Act in 1971, a new study out on August 10, 2020 evaluated the availability of
Medical Abortion (MA) drugs in six Indian states to understand the awareness
levels and perceptions of the chemists stocking and selling MA pills.
Despite the passage of the MTP (Amendment) Bill in March 2020 that extended the
upper limit for permitting abortion to 24 weeks from 20 weeks, the
non-availability of MA drugs, which are approved for use up to nine weeks of
pregnancy in India, is seen to be “threatening” to women’s access to safe
abortion and proper reproductive healthcare.
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.
The non-stocking of medical abortion drugs seems to be linked to overregulation by drug control authorities, said authorities.
Published: 10th August 2020
By Sumi Sukanya Dutta, Express News Service
NEW DELHI: A survey to assess the availability of the medical abortion pills in six states has shown its acute shortage in most of the states, triggering concerns of a sharp rise in unwanted pregnancies in the coming months.
The study by the Foundation for Reproductive Health Services India (FRSHI) involving 1500 chemists found that there was an overwhelming shortage of the drugs in five out of the six states surveyed with abysmal stocking in Madhya Pradesh (6.5%), Punjab (1.0%), Tamil Nadu (2.0%), Haryana (2.0%), and Delhi (34.0%).
July 29, 2020
Hundreds of leading public health, nursing, midwifery and medical experts and organisations have signed an open letter urging the Federal Government to modify new restrictions on telehealth provision.
In an accompanying statement issued yesterday, the Government is warned that the changes “may already be having a devastating impact on sexual and reproductive health during the pandemic”.
Last Updated July 28, 2020
As an abortion doula, Shannon Hardy spends her days driving people to appointments or taking care of them afterwards. That all changed when the pandemic started. Sharing a car with a stranger, not to mention helping them convalesce, has been out of the question since COVID-19, leaving many without access to this crucial healthcare service.
Getting an abortion in Atlantic Canada, where Hardy lives, was a challenge even before coronavirus. Though abortions have been decriminalized in Canada since 1988, provinces have jurisdiction over access. As a result, where and at what point in a pregnancy you can get an abortion is influenced by the local political climate, and varies widely. Mifegymiso, the pill that induces what's called a medical abortion, is available and covered by provincial healthcare, but not every doctor will prescribe it. In some places, there's access to surgical abortions, but parts or all of it are not covered or you have to pay up front and seek reimbursement afterward.
Why COVID-19 Must Not Constrain Access to Abortion in India
During the pandemic, India must ensure that access to critical women’s health facilities remain unimpeded.
By Tarini Mehta
June 24, 2020
Some things cannot be stopped and started as we please, not even if a highly contagious virus demands it. A case in point is development through the different stages of pregnancy. The Indian government did declare safe abortion an essential health service on April 14, when the country was still under a COVID-19 lockdown. It brought some relief to a few women who urgently required those facilities. But things are not that simple.
According to a report by the IPAS Development Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to manage unwanted pregnancies in India, 73 percent of abortions that take place in India annually are done via medical abortion (MA) drugs that are accessed outside of facilities. Private health facilities take care of 16 percent of cases, while public health facilities cover another 6 percent. The remaining 5 percent are conducted through traditional methods that are considered unsafe. These include, but are not limited to, the usage of sticks, roots, and herbal medicines.
Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner suggests funding cuts for abortion clinics
May 29, 2020
During her annual performance report, Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner, Anna Kuznetsova, proposed reducing funding for abortion clinics.
According to Kuznetsova, the amount of funding allocated to abortion clinics should be in inverse proportion to the number of abortions. “A clinic should be interested in saving the child, and not in providing services for the artificial termination of pregnancy,” she said.
Kuznetsova also suggested limiting the sale of medical abortion drugs at pharmacies.
The commissioner’s report has already been sent to the Kremlin.
Children’s Rights Commissioner Anna Kuznetsova has consistently advocated for raising the birth rate in Russia and is known for her pro-life views. On May 28, she announced that she had given birth to her seventh child.