Updated: Jul 1, 2022
By: Kalani Phillips, MPH, CPH
Medication abortion is non-invasive and combines the use of two different medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, to terminate a pregnancy. This medication has been available since 2000 and has been approved for use for anyone at less than 10 weeks of gestation at the time of request.
In a recent study investigating the safety and effectiveness of medication abortion provided using online telemedicine in the U.S., researchers found that among the 2,268 participants that provided information about their experience with medication abortion, over 98% reported that they were satisfied with the medication and over 95% reported that using medication abortion was the right choice for them.
In another study assessing the effectiveness of a hybrid telemedicine model for medication abortion with no test, treatment, or ultrasound, researchers found that this model was safe, effective, and proven to increase access to care. Additionally, another study conducted on reviewing the safety and efficacy of telehealth medication abortion in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic found a 95% efficacy rate for this model, which is similar to in-person provision for medication abortion.
As each of these studies concluded that medication abortion provided through telehealth is medically safe and resulted in successful abortions, access to this procedure should be made available to those that want and need it. The ability to determine if and when you get pregnant should not be dictated by others.
Moreover, the ethical concerns some raise regarding later-term abortions are not as salient with respect to medication abortion, which potentially could result in there being fewer obstacles to enacting a national policy ensuring access to medication abortion. A clear federal policy is needed to increase access to medication abortion through telehealth across the nation. Individuals should be able to make their own decisions about their reproductive health and family planning.
Attia. What are the different types of abortion? Published November 21, 2019. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/ask-experts/what-are-the-different-types-of-abortion
Upadhyay UD, Koenig LR, Meckstroth KR. Safety and Efficacy of Telehealth Medication Abortions in the US During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(8):e2122320. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.22320
Aiken A, Lohr P, Lord J, Ghosh N, Starling J. Effectiveness, safety and acceptability of no‐test medical abortion (termination of pregnancy) provided via telemedicine: a national cohort study. BJOG: Int J Obstet Gy. 2021;128(9):1464-1474. doi:10.1111/1471-0528.16668
Aiken ARA, Romanova EP, Morber JR, Gomperts R. Safety and effectiveness of self-managed medication abortion provided using online telemedicine in the United States: A population based study. The Lancet Regional Health - America