Use of ‘at-home abortion pills’ rises amid pandemic – and faces new threats

Medication abortions have are a safe and accessible method of terminating pregnancy, but they have been targeted by onerous FDA restrictions

Cecilia Nowell
Sun 1 Nov 2020

With six conservative justices now sitting on the supreme court, the future of abortion access in US looks increasingly uncertain. But in addition to concerns about whether abortion clinics can stay open, activists are warning that lesser-known abortion medications are also under threat.

Medication abortions have been proven to be a safe and effective method of terminating pregnancy, and because they can be completed without doctor supervision, they serve as a crucial alternative for those who have had other abortion services shuttered in their state, or who do not feel safe accessing traditional health services.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/01/at-home-abortion-pills-increasingly-in-demand-amid-pandemic-under-new-threats


Roe v. Wade Might Be Overturned Soon — This Is Worse Than You Think

MOLLY LONGMAN
OCTOBER 20, 2020

Angel Kai’s* heart sank when she found out she was pregnant again. The 20-year-old had delivered her second child only three months prior. She was on unpaid maternity leave from her job in Amarillo, TX, and she’d just received a $130 electricity bill in the mail that she didn’t know if she’d be able to pay. “Everything that was happening financially was just bad,” she remembers. “I couldn’t have another kid. I knew getting an abortion would be the best thing, because I couldn’t walk up the street to get a soda if I wanted one at the time. We were that tight on money.”

It turned out, though, that Angel couldn’t even afford the abortion she knew she wanted. Her health plan was offered under state-funded Medicaid, which, in Texas, only covers abortion in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. So, Angel Googled “abortion financial help.”

Continued:  https://www.refinery29.com/en-ca/2020/10/10112297/what-happens-if-roe-v-wade-overturned-state-abortion-laws


This is the future of abortion in a post-Roe America

The fall of Roe v. Wade won’t end abortion. Here’s what it will do.

By Anna North 
Oct 12, 2020

If Roe v. Wade falls, what happens to abortion in America?

That’s the question on a lot of Americans’ minds after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with the Supreme Court on the brink of a 6-3 conservative majority. If the Senate confirms President Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, the Court will likely have the votes to overturn the landmark 1973 decision that established Americans’ right to terminate a pregnancy.

Continued: https://www.vox.com/21504883/supreme-court-abortion-roe-v-wade-barrett


The pandemic sparked the rise of tele-abortion. Is it here to stay?

After 20 years in the U.S., medication abortion is finally widely accessible through telehealth. But a looming Supreme Court ruling could change all that.

BY RUTH READER
10.02.2020

In April of this year, when some of Minnesota’s already few abortion clinics started to close because of the pandemic, a new organization popped up with a novel idea: It would bring abortion services to Minnesotans using a mobile clinic. Called Just The Pill, its goal was to connect the state’s most rural corners with medication abortion care, a two-pill regimen that can end a pregnancy.

In the past, it’s been hard for sexual health groups to get medication abortion to people in remote areas. The Food and Drug Administration restricts one of the medications, mifepristone, in several ways. Patients must take the pill at a clinic, for example. On top of that, states have their own rules that can further encumber access. However, the medical data overwhelmingly shows the abortion pill is safe, even to take at home alone. Health experts say politics—not data—are informing these rules.

Continued: https://www.fastcompany.com/90550536/telehealth-abortion-pill-supreme-court-ruling


U.S.-Based Online Pharmacy First to Ship Abortion Pills to Patients Inside the U.S.

9/30/2020
by CARRIE N. BAKER

For years, pharmacies outside the U.S. have been shipping abortion pills to American women wanting to end their pregnancies. But now, for the first time, a U.S.-based pharmacy—Honeybee Health—is distributing abortion pills directly to patients within the country by mail, now legal because of a recent federal court ruling.

“This is a momentous achievement for Americans, particularly for women of color and others who historically faced barriers to reproductive healthcare that are made even worse by COVID-19,” said Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi, co-founder, co-CEO and lead pharmacist of Honeybee Health.

Continued: https://msmagazine.com/2020/09/30/honeybee-health-us-based-online-pharmacy-first-to-ship-abortion-pills-to-patients-inside-the-u-s/


TIME 100: Rebecca Gomperts is among the 100 most influential people of 2020

For immediate release, September 23nd, 2020

Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, founder of Women on Web, Women on Waves and AidAccess, has been chosen among the 100 most influential people of the world in 2020 by Time magazine.

Cecile Richards writes for Time 100: "In this moment of fear and uncertainty, Gomperts is a beacon of hope, standing up for the principle that safe abortion is a human right."

The full list of the Time most influential people of 2020 can be seen here: time.com/time100  

Continued: https://www.womenonwaves.org/en/page/7616/time-100-rebecca-gomperts-founder-of-women-on-web-is-among-the-100-most-influ


USA – Abortion Regulation in the Age of COVID-19

Both abortion advocates and opponents have used the COVID-19 crisis to further their policy goals.

Carrie N. Baker
Sep 21, 2020

The gendered dimensions of the political response to the COVID-19 crisis are manifesting clearly in efforts to close abortion clinics, as well as in campaigns led by doctors, lawyers, and reproductive rights advocates to expand access to telemedicine abortion during the pandemic and beyond.

Anti-abortion politicians in states across the country have used the COVID-19 pandemic to attempt to restrict abortion, arguing that abortion is not essential health care and that banning the procedure will conserve personal protective equipment for COVID-19 cases. In March and April of 2020, 12 states tried to restrict abortion, including Alaska, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia, among others. Legislators in Kentucky passed a bill to allow the state’s Attorney General to block abortion access during COVID-19, but the Kentucky governor vetoed the bill.
Continued: https://www.theregreview.org/2020/09/21/baker-abortion-regulation-covid-19/


Abortion, sexuality, global health and more: A chat with South Africa’s ‘Dr T’

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2020 | NEWS

If you haven’t heard of Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng—known popularly as Dr T—you have somehow missed her ubiquitous presence on radio, TV, social media and numerous other platforms. She’s a medical doctor, sex expert and health activist. She’s a member of the South Africa Commission on Gender Equality and was recently appointed as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health. Dr. Mofokeng is also the author of A Guide to Sexual Health and Pleasure. She took time from her busy schedule to field some questions from Ipas.

Congratulations on your recent appointment as a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health—and for being the first woman from Africa named to that post. What excites you most about this new role?

Continued: https://www.ipas.org/news/abortion-sexuality-global-health-and-more-a-chat-with-south-africas-dr-t/


Telemedicine and self-managed abortion: a discussion paper

by Marge Berer
26 August 2020

Introduction
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
changes.

Continued: https://mailchi.mp/safeabortionwomensright/newsletter-26-aug-2020?e=372dd34034


South Africa – Self-managed abortions set to give women more autonomy

Abortion providers say self-managed abortions can give women more autonomy over their bodies, but access to this form of abortion remains limited in South Africa. Tiyese Jeranji looks at exactly what self-managed abortion entails.

By Tiyese Jeranji for Spotlight
24 August 2020

Though abortion has been legal in South Africa since 1996, many abortions still take place outside of formal health settings.

At a conference on abortion and reproductive justice in Makhanda in 2018, the Department of Social Development said between 52% and 58% of the estimated 260,000 abortions that take place in South Africa every year are illegal. The Guttmacher Institute (a research and policy organisation), estimates that 50% of abortions in South Africa take place in settings not regulated by the health sector.

Continued: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-08-24-self-managed-abortions-set-to-give-women-more-autonomy/