Expanding Access to Telehealth for Medication Abortion Care in a Constrained Policy Environment

This report was prepared in collaboration with RHITES

With Co-Authors: Dana Northcraft and Emily Schacter

Abortion is a safe and an essential health care service.1 For over twenty years, medication has been used for abortion care safely during the first trimester through the use of two medications – mifepristone and misoprostol. Beginning in 2020, over 50% of abortions occurred using medication, which is increasingly the preferred abortion method by pregnant persons.2 

From interviews and a roundtable workshop with stakeholders, representing policy experts, abortion and reproductive health providers, nonprofits, investors, and telehealth companies, we identified five concrete actions that, even within a highly constrained policy environment, will expand access to TMAB care in the near term:

  1. Improve the public understanding of the safety and effectiveness of TMAB care;
  2. Address regulatory barriers to telehealth, including TMAB care;
  3. Improve the overall economics and coverage of TMAB care;
  4. Train providers on TMAB care to expand the supply of providers; and
  5. Establish referral channels and education around TMAB services.

This brief explores practical and near-term opportunities to increase individuals' access to TMAB care where abortion is legal. While the focus of this brief is on TMAB care, many of the action steps discussed can reduce barriers to care in general – not just abortion – and further access to other sensitive services. For a more thorough examination of these issues and additional actions, please see the full brief available here.

1 “Abortion Is Healthcare,” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, https://www.acog.org/advocacy/facts-are-important/abortion-is-healthcare#:~:text=Induced%20abortion%20is%20an%20essential,undue%20interference%20by%20outside%20parties.

2 Rachel K. Jones et al., “Medication Abortion Now Accounts for More than Half of All US Abortions.” Guttmacher Institute, September 12, 2023, https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2022/02/medication-abortion-now-accounts-more-half-all-us-abortions.



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