Citing MSI research, FDA lifts restrictions on telemedicine

The need for abortion doesn’t go away in a pandemic—and just this week, the US Government took steps to make access a little bit easier for women to access care without exposure to COVID-19. Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock lifted restrictions on dispensing abortion pills by mail.

The FDA cited a recent study which used MSI data from the UK to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of telemedicine abortion. Medication abortion at home carries very few risks—in fact, our research showed that it was just as safe as in-facility care!

How does telemedicine abortion work?

Medication abortion has become an increasingly popular option for women in the United States and around the world. Rather than undergo a procedure in a facility, women simply take two pills. Traditionally, the first pill would be taken under the supervision of a doctor in a clinic, while the second is taken at home up to 48 hours later. However, experts agree that it’s perfectly safe to take both medications at home early in pregnancy.

Now, the FDA has notified the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that it is relaxing the in-facility requirements for the first pill because of COVID restrictions.

To receive abortion via telemedicine, women speak to a doctor to make sure medication abortion is right for them. Then, the medication is sent to their homes. Many clients have told us that they appreciate the privacy and shorter wait times that care at home enables.

Standing up to anti-choice restrictions

MSI is leading the way on women’s health, and our work will help make choice possible for women in the United States as well as in the countries where we work.

Unfortunately, telemedicine abortion still isn’t universally available in the United States. Several states already prohibit telehealth for abortion care, and anti-abortion lawmakers are working to make medication abortion pills more difficult to obtain.

Our research shows that telemedicine is preferred by many clients and it’s just as safe and effective. That’s why we’ll keep working to ensure this option is available to the women we serve. We hope states will follow the FDA’s lead and expand access to telemedicine during the pandemic and beyond.


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