USA – National trends in telehealth services and availability of abortion pills 2020-2022
Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), based at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), is a leading U.S. research programme that informs the most pressing debates on abortion and reproductive health.
ANSIRH’s Abortion Facility Database collects data on all publicly-advertising abortion facilities in the U.S. This issue brief summarizes trends in telehealth service availability for medication abortion from 2020-2022 across all 50 U.S. states, with data accurately assessed for changes since the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to remove the federal right to abortion.
In 2020, there were no virtual clinics providing medical abortion pills. In 2021, 32 virtual clinics (4% of 773 facilities offering medical abortion pills) began providing care via telehealth in 22 states and DC. By 2022, 69 virtual clinics (9% of 789 facilities offering medical abortion pills) provided this care in 23 states and Washington, DC. Virtual clinics were largely concentrated in the Northeast and West, while state bans3 were enacted in the Southeast and Midwest prohibiting any type of abortion, including telehealth medical abortion.
During the Covid-19 pandemic and following the Dobbs decision, increasing numbers of abortion facilities adapted their services to include telehealth options, including new virtual clinics. Even as it expands, telehealth for medical abortion is now facing new legal challenges through a federal lawsuit that contests the use of mifepristone for abortion care. This research shows part of the landscape under threat.
Abortion pills by mail
The number of facilities offering medical abortion pills increased from 733 in 2020 to 773 in 2021 to 789 in 2022. The proportion of those facilities that provided telehealth with the option to have abortion pills sent through the mail increased from 52 facilities in 11 states in 2020, to 91 facilities in 25 states in 2021, to 243 facilities in 27 states in 2022. This included both brick-and mortar-facilities, as well as virtual clinics that only provided telehealth services.
See other ANSIRH Briefs in June and July 2023 at: https://www.ansirh.org/research/search?topic%5B0%5D=376
SOURCE: ANSIRH Issue Brief, June 2023 ; ANSIRH website: http://www.ansirh.org/