The FDA approved the abortion pill 20 years ago. It’s time to make it available via telehealth

By USHMA D. UPADHYAY
SEPTEMBER 24, 2020

Twenty years ago this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved a medication destined to become known as the abortion pill. Mifepristone, then called RU486, was going to change everything about abortion — it would expand access and remove the stigma.

I remember devouring the news because this little pill was going to give women reproductive autonomy and let them control if and when they have children. At the time, I was just starting my Ph.D. in public health. The news inspired and exhilarated me, and I knew that the abortion pill is what I wanted to focus my career on.

Continued: https://www.statnews.com/2020/09/24/make-abortion-pill-available-via-telehealth/


Easing restrictions on abortion pill greatly improved access to care in Canada

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.

Continued: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/uobc-ero090920.php


USA – The Supreme Court is already considering another threat to abortion rights

The Trump administration could force abortion patients to have unnecessary surgeries.

By Ian Millhiser 
Sep 9, 2020

Last June, Chief Justice John Roberts provided a brief reprieve to abortion providers — joining his liberal colleagues in striking down a Louisiana anti-abortion law. But that reprieve could be very short-lived: A case now before the justices could give them a vehicle to undercut the right to terminate a pregnancy. If the Trump administration gets its way in
Food and Drug Administration v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Supreme Court could force many patients seeking abortions to undergo unnecessary surgeries, despite the fact that those patients could safely terminate their pregnancy with medication — and that’s assuming that these individuals are able to find a doctor to perform the surgery in the first place.

Continued: https://www.vox.com/2020/9/9/21426056/supreme-court-abortion-american-college-obstetricians-gynecologists-surgery-trump-john-roberts


USA – Ted Cruz and a Bunch of GOP Senators Are Trying to Ban the Abortion Pill

They're asking the FDA to declare the pill used in about 40% of abortions an “imminent hazard to public health.”

By Carter Sherman
September 2, 2020

Sen. Ted Cruz is leading the charge on a Hail Mary plea to the Food and Drug and Administration: He wants the agency to cut off access to a pill that’s used in nearly 40% of U.S. abortions.

On Monday, the Texas Republican led a group of 20 senators in sending a letter to the commissioner of the FDA, asking the agency to take the pill mifepristone, which helps induce abortions, off the U.S. market. The senators want the pill declared an “imminent hazard to public health.”

Continued: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7kpap4/ted-cruz-and-a-bunch-of-gop-senators-are-trying-to-ban-the-abortion-pill


USA – State Actions Undermining Abortion Rights in 2020

By Nora Ellmann 
August 27, 2020

So far in 2020, there have been a number of important wins for abortion rights in the courts. In the U.S. Supreme Court, Louisiana’s unconstitutional admitting privileges law was struck down in June Medical Services v. Russo.1 In the lower courts, a federal district court in Maryland ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration must suspend enforcement of a medically unnecessary restriction on access to medication abortion until 30 days after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.2 Also in Maryland, a district court vacated and enjoined a Trump administration rule that would have required separate insurance payments for abortion care and all other health care for people insured by certain plans under the Affordable Care Act.3 And a district court in Georgia struck down the state’s six-week abortion ban, which would have banned abortion at a point before most people even know they are pregnant.4

Continued: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2020/08/27/489786/state-actions-undermining-abortion-rights-2020/


USA – Telemedicine has become the norm for most medical specialties — except abortion services

Federal restrictions are limiting access to telemedicine abortion care. That needs to change

Julie Burkhart
August 9, 2020

The ongoing pandemic has led to huge shifts in how we live and work, and health care is no exception. In the past few months, telehealth visits have surged more than 50 percent, enabling patients to access much of the health care they need without taking the added risk of leaving their homes.

But for people seeking reproductive health services, longstanding state and federal restrictions continue to needlessly limit their access to telemedicine abortion care.

Continued: https://www.salon.com/2020/08/09/telemedicine-has-become-the-norm-for-most-medical-specialties--except-abortion-services/


USA – Medication Abortion Access Is About to Radically Change

Monday's ruling could be the first step in making medication abortion easier—and safe—to access.

Jul 15, 2020
Jessica Mason Pieklo

Medication abortion access just got a little easier and safer for patients during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s about damn time, and it should stay this way forever.

A federal judge in Maryland issued an order on Monday blocking the Trump administration from enforcing a restriction that prevents patients from accessing medication abortion without a doctor’s visit, on the grounds that it likely unduly burdens abortion rights in the middle of a pandemic.

Continued:  https://rewire.news/article/2020/07/15/medication-abortion-access-is-about-to-radically-change/


USA – Medication Abortion and Telemedicine: Innovations and Barriers During the COVID-19 Emergency

Medication Abortion and Telemedicine: Innovations and Barriers During the COVID-19 Emergency

Amrutha Ramaswamy, Gabriela Weigel, Laurie Sobel
Jun 08, 2020

State actions in response to the COVID-19 crisis have highlighted their divergent approaches to abortion access. Some states classified abortion as a non-essential service, effectively banning services, while others have clarified that abortion is an essential service. In a handful of states, some clinics have begun to offer medication abortions using telemedicine. This approach maintains access to abortion while social distancing, preserving personal protective equipment (PPE), and limiting in-person health care visits and risk of exposure.

In 2017, 39% of all abortions in the U.S. were medication abortions (also known as abortions induced by pills). These abortions are provided using two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol. While public knowledge about medication abortion is very low, even fewer people may be aware that telemedicine can aid in the provision of this service. Research shows that providing medication abortion by telemedicine is clinically feasible and safe, but COVID-19 has highlighted the impact of new and existing federal and state restrictions on providing abortions using this approach.

Continued: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-policy-watch/medication-abortion-telemedicine-innovations-and-barriers-during-the-covid-19-emergency/


USA – No-Test Medication Abortion Increases Safety and Access During COVID-19

No-Test Medication Abortion Increases Safety and Access During COVID-19
A new study proposes an innovative, no-test medication abortion protocol that would enable clinicians to safely administer medication abortion to patients without any preliminary tests or in-person encounters

5/13/2020
by Carrie N. Baker

Imagine a world where women could access safe and supported abortion health care without ever leaving their homes. In this world, after a phone call or video conference with a health care professional, women could receive the abortion pill in the mail, which they could take safely in the privacy of their own homes under the supervision of a clinician.

No invasive, time-consuming pelvic exams or blood tests. No state-mandated ultrasounds or waiting periods requiring multiple visits. No walking past lines of screaming anti-abortion protesters. No driving long distances, having to find and pay for child care, or taking time off from work. No exposure to COVID-19.

Continued: https://msmagazine.com/2020/05/13/no-test-medication-abortion-increases-safety-and-access-during-covid-19/


USA – Coronavirus crisis magnifies existing challenges to abortion access

Coronavirus crisis magnifies existing challenges to abortion access

May 07, 2020
Carole Joffe

In our recent book, Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America, David Cohen and I detail the considerable difficulties many people have in accessing abortion care. The relative scarcity of clinics means long travel for many; that abortion patients are disproportionately low-income women of color means hardship in paying for the procedure, particularly since the majority of states do not allow Medicaid funds to be used for abortion; the onerous waiting periods in many states often mean women have to stay overnight in a distant city, leading to the additional costs of lodging and more days of lost wages; confrontations with protestors at the clinic sites themselves can often be deeply upsetting. All these barriers have increased exponentially with the coming of COVID-19, and some new problems have been added as well.

Continued: https://womensmediacenter.com/news-features/coronavirus-crisis-magnifies-existing-challenges-to-abortion-access