by MARIE BASS
The approval of medication abortion care—20 years ago on Monday—was supposed to usher in a new era of abortion access in this country, to lessen the political and cultural stigma of abortion, to end the vitriol, quiet the noise, and give women an important new option to end an early pregnancy. This vision has yet to be realized.
Instead, with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the vacancy on the Supreme Court, the constitutional right to abortion is under greater threat than ever before.
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.
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.
Queer and trans people are systematically harmed by continued attempts to dismantle abortion access in the U.S.
By Jessica Zucker
Aug 25, 2020
Amidst a global pandemic that has already claimed the lives of over 165,000 Americans and left more than 20 million unemployed, GOP politicians are still shamelessly focused on curtailing access to safe, legal, affordable abortion care. In Nebraska, Republicans have introduced a bill that would ban an abortion method that is proven to be safe. In Iowa, GOP lawmakers passed a law requiring abortion patients to make an additional, medically unnecessary appointment with an abortion provider then wait 24 hours to receive abortion care. In Tennessee, lawmakers successfully banned abortion as early as six weeks, which is before most people even know they’re pregnant (the law was blocked by a federal court 45 minutes after it was signed).
Federal restrictions are limiting access to telemedicine abortion care. That needs to change
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.
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”.
A dearth of political leadership means abortion drugs remain inaccessible, unsafe and unaffordable for many women
Published on Tue 14 Jul 2020
It has been 24 years since the federal government chose the partial privatisation of Telstra over the rights of Australian women to safely terminate a pregnancy with abortion drugs. In 1996, anti-abortion independent Brian Harradine, who held the balance of power in the Senate, agreed to support John Howard’s one-third float of the telecommunications company if the government amended legislation to give the health minister veto to prohibit the import, manufacture or use of abortion drug RU486 (mifepristone).
A perpetual dearth of political leadership in the subsequent quarter century has meant the drugs remain inaccessible, unaffordable and at times unsafe for many women in Australia outside of a certain income or major city.
The number of clinics offering access to needed medication without physical appointments has tripled.
Moira Wyton, Today | TheTyee.ca
July 2, 2020
Two clinics that began offering online abortion services during the pandemic are seeing a surge in patients, highlighting the lack of reproductive health services available for patients outside the Lower Mainland.
Before the pandemic hit, the Willow Clinic in Vancouver was the only place in B.C. offering abortion services without requiring an in-person visit.
But the pandemic encouraged Vancouver’s Elizabeth Bagshaw Clinic and sister clinic Everywoman’s Health Centre to move ahead more quickly with plans to offer the service, tripling the number of clinics patients can choose from to obtain the required medication.
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.
I Traveled To Texas During The Pandemic To Provide Abortion Care. Here’s What I Saw.
Closing clinics, banning telehealth and enforcing waiting periods is dangerous and burdensome at any time, but especially during this pandemic.
Glenna Martin, M.D., M.P.H.
May 25, 2020
As I flew out of Texas in February, I never imagined the tragedy and upheaval that would take place before I was able to return eight weeks later.
I travel monthly from Seattle to Texas to help provide abortion care. But at the end of March — as the coronavirus pandemic was ramping up —Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order halting such care, deeming it nonessential — an order reinforced by the state’s attorney general.