In continuing attacks on women’s access to abortion services, states have considered banning “tele-med” abortions by requiring a doctor to be present when a woman takes abortion-inducing medication or requiring women to meet their doctors face to face. Planned Parenthood clinics in Wisconsin even have stopped providing abortions via medication entirely after lawmakers approved a restrictive law that makes incredibly difficult to continue the practice.
But a new study shows that the extra in-person face time Wisconsin law now requires doctors to spend with their patients is unnecessary. The research found that there was no difference between patients who called the clinic for their follow-up and those who went to the clinic, according to MedPage Today:
“Women choosing phone follow-up are not more likely to experience complications or be lost to follow-up,” she said in her oral presentation. “Phone follow-up is feasible for medical abortion and can assess the need for further in-person follow-up.”
Samberg said medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol has been shown to be safe and effective up to 63 days of gestation. The typical management requires a transvaginal ultrasound one week later and two to three office visits. A pilot study in 2010 showed that a phone follow-up of women undergoing medical abortion was feasible, and that 64% of the women did not require follow-up visits, she noted.
These findings follow a 2011 study proving that telemedicine is a safe and effective way to provide medication abortion services, particularly in rural areas. But despite scientific proof backing up the practice, Republican state legislators have pushed to stop the practice and limit women’s access to abortion care.