Abortion through telemedicine

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Medical abortion offers a well tolerated and effective method to terminate early pregnancy, but remains underutilized in the United States. Over the last decade, ‘telemedicine’ has been studied as an option for medical abortion to improve access when patients and providers are not together. A number of studies have explored various practice models and their feasibility as an alternative to in-person service provision.

Recent findings

A direct-to-clinic model of telemedicine medical abortion has similar efficacy with no increased risk of significant adverse events when compared with in-person abortion. A direct-to-consumer model is currently being studied in the United States. International models of direct-to-consumer medical abortion have shown promising results.

Summary

The introduction of telemedicine into abortion care has been met with early success. Currently, there are limitations to the reach of telemedicine because of specific restrictions on mifepristone in the United States as well as laws that specifically prohibit telemedicine for abortion. If these barriers are removed, telemedicine can potentially increase abortion access.

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