FDA moves to increase telehealth abortion access
Yesterday, the FDA moved to permanently allow abortion pills by mail–this is a major win for women’s reproductive rights and the right move by the FDA.
Previously, mifepristone had to be dispensed in-person under the supervision of a prescriber, but during the pandemic the in-person requirement was lifted due to the greater risk of infection caused by in-person visits. The Trump administration challenged this ruling but in April 2021 the FDA enacted a temporary suspension of the in-person requirement for the duration of the pandemic. With yesterday’s ruling, the suspension of the in-person requirement is permanent.
The in-person requirements for the prescription of mifepristone created unnecessary, unfounded restrictions for patients. Mifepristone has been approved in the US since 2000 and is a safe and effective way to end an early pregnancy. In-person restrictions on abortion limited patients’ access to mifepristone and underscored the unequal standard levied against reproductive healthcare. Leading medical associations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Family Physicians support removing the FDA’s restrictions of mifepristone entirely.
Allowing the prescription of mifepristone through telemedicine expands healthcare access to all particularly rural communities and low income communities. This experience during the pandemic has provided ample evidence to show that telemedicine is a viable, effective method for providing care — just as safe as in-person care but with higher rates of patient satisfaction. Over 90% of U.S. counties do not have an abortion clinic–the adoption of telemedicine is a step toward more equitable, more accessible care. In-person barriers restricted access to abortion and created undue burden for patients to whom a clinic visit was not a viable option.
Here at Koa we are tremendously proud to be backing Hey Jane in their efforts to provide exceptional care by enabling access to reproductive health through telehealth abortion. Hey Jane is a patient-focused model that providing both access to telehealth abortion as well as the emotion & social support to care for the whole patient throughout the process.
The battle for reproductive healthcare equity is far from over. 19 states still ban or restrict the use of telehealth for medication abortion and 2021 has been the worst year for abortion regulations ever. Please consider supporting reproductive health initiatives nationwide as the fight continues for equitable reproductive care.