Study Finds Telemedicine a Safe, Effective Abortion Method

According to a new study published in the latest edition of Obstetrics and Gynecology, an abortion method that utilizes telemedicine technology to allow physicians to remotely provide medical abortion care to women is just as effective and acceptable to patients as a face-to-face office visit.

A medical abortion is one that is brought about by taking medications that will end a pregnancy. Even though medical abortion requires no surgery, most states require that a physician “provide” the medical abortion, which means that a doctor must personally counsel each patient before dispensing the medication. Telemedicine allows doctors to complete this counseling remotely using video conferencing. NAF member Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has offered some abortions via telemedicine since 2008 in order to expand the service to women earlier in pregnancy and to those who lived in rural areas without abortion providers.

The study was based on 578 Iowa women who came to Planned Parenthood clinics seeking a medical abortion: 223 of the patients signed up for counseling via telemedicine while 226 opted for face-to-face visits. Ninety-four percent of the women who chose telemedicine reported that they were “very satisfied” with the procedure, and researchers found that women who received this counseling had no more complications than those who had office visits.

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