Abortions can be provided safely and effectively using telehealth

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal judge temporarily suspended enforcement of FDA requirements that the mifepristone (a drug used in medication abortion), be dispensed in clinics, medical offices, or hospitals. Soon after, a virtual abortion clinic called Choix began providing care.

ANSIRH researchers found that among patients who used the virtual clinic, 95% had a complete abortion without intervention, similar to in-person medication abortion. No patients reported any major adverse events.

These results represent some of the earliest data on new telehealth abortion clinics in the United States. They show that telehealth medication abortion care, without routine pre-abortion ultrasound and with delivery by mail-order pharmacy, is safe and effective.

At a time when abortion access is under increased threat from state policymakers and the Supreme Court, these data can inform the FDA’s pending decision about permanently lifting its in-person dispensing requirement. It can also help clinicians who are considering providing telehealth or no-test medication abortion care to understand that patient outcomes are similar to those associated with in-person care.