For example, a research program that the FDA has authorized to provide telemedicine consultations and send pills by mail reported that 95% of 1,157 abortions that occurred under the program between May 2016 and September 2020 were completed safely. require a follow-up procedure. Patients made 70 visits to the emergency room or urgent care centers, with 10 cases of serious complications, according to the study.
In 2020, medical groups filed a lawsuit asking for the in-person delivery requirement to be lifted because the pandemic meant patients were at greater risk of being infected with the coronavirus if they needed to go. to clinics to get abortion pills. A judge granted the request that summer, but, after a challenge from the Trump administration, the Supreme Court reinstated the restriction.
In March, medical organizations tried again, writing to President Biden and Vice President Harris. In April, the FDA decided not to enforce the in-person requirement for the duration of the pandemic, allowing the shipment of pills. The new FDA decision makes the suspension permanent.
Experience since April suggests that more women will seek medical abortion if they do not have to see a provider for the pills. Abortion on demand, which formed this spring as one of many organizations that operate websites to arrange telemedicine consultations and send pills through the mail, has seen growing interest, Leah Coplon said. , director of clinical operations for Abortion on Demand.
The TelAbortion Project, the FDA-cleared research program to deliver telemedicine appointments and pills by mail, also heard from more women, said Elizabeth Raymond, senior medical associate at Gynuity Health Projects, which runs the program. . She said that of 2,083 abortions performed under the program between July 2016 and October 2021, more than a third – 715 – took place during the pandemic.
Kirsten Moore, director of the Expanding Medication Abortion Access Project, said abortion rights proponents hope the FDA will also lift the other two restrictions related to mifepristone, particularly the requirement that providers must be certified. , because that means women won’t necessarily be. able to get the pills from their regular doctor or clinic.
Still, Ms Moore said she hopes the increased availability of medical abortion will help open up appointments for women who need surgical abortions by creating “more space in the abortion ecosystem.” for patients who have to go to a clinic”.