If you live in Hawaii, New York, Oregon, or Washington, you may now be able to receive abortion pills by mail.
Gynuity Health Projects, a non-profit focused on reproductive health care, is conducting a new study to determine the effectiveness of abortion by mail. The study, called TelAbortion, is aimed at those who may have difficulty getting to an abortion clinic.
Participants can consult an abortion provider via video conference, and those who qualify will be sent abortion medications via overnight mail. According to the New York Times, 12 women have participated in the study so far (all in Hawaii), and while one woman decided not to take the pills, the other 11 did so without any complications. Of those women, 10 completed a survey reporting they were satisfied with the service and would recommend it to a friend.
A medication abortion involves taking two pills, one at a clinic health center, and another one 24-48 hours later. According to Planned Parenthood, some women may prefer the abortion pill because it's more private and many feel that it's "less invasive" than the alternative, a medical procedure in which the cervix is dilated and the endometrial tissue as well as the fertilized egg is aspirated. This procedure lasts between two and five minutes.
To qualify for the study, you'd need to meet the same criteria as you would for an in-person medication abortion. These requirements include: being pregnant and feeling confidence in your choice of abortion, being able to undergo pre-abortion tests, not having any conditions that could make an abortion unsafe (i.e., an allergy to the abortion drugs), and not currently being on any medication that could interfere with the abortion drugs (such as blood thinners or steroids).
The study, approved by the FDA, is hoping to make abortion more accessible during a time when women's access to abortion providers is shrinking due to anti-choice legislation that has closed clinics across the country. In light of Donald Trump's win, many women are worried about the future of abortion rights. President-elect Trump's interview with 60 Minutes confirmed that he is planning to install "pro-life" judges to the Supreme Court who would rule against Roe v. Wade, which solidified a woman's constitutional right to an abortion. If Roe is overturned, the decision will go "back to the states," he said.
Telabortion hopes to expand to other states if the study proves successful — however, it's important to note that 19 states still require a clinician to be present during medication abortions. Abortion access doesn't seem to be getting any easier, but this study may help make abortion by mail an alternative for women who may be unable to travel long distances to get abortion care.