Telemedicine Abortion Is Very Safe, Despite What Lawmakers Say

A new study on the safety of telemedicine abortion further upends anti-choice legislators’ excuses for restricting at-home medication abortions and paves the way to vastly expand options for people seeking this service.

Published in The BMJ by a collective of international professors and the founder of Women on Web (WoW), an online telemedicine service based out of the Netherlands, the study examined 1,000 women living in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland who had an abortion with medication from WoW between January 2010 and December 2012. All of the women reported being less than 10 weeks pregnant, per WoW’s guidelines.

The results are overwhelmingly positive: 95 percent of the self-managed abortions were successful with extremely low rates of adverse events. Less than 1 percent of the women reported needing a blood transfusion post-abortion, and only 2.6 percent said they received antibiotics. Zero deaths were reported. And virtually all of the patients reported being able to cope with their decision to have an abortion.

“Self sourced medical abortion using online telemedicine can be highly effective, and outcomes compare favourably with in clinic protocols,” the researchers noted. “Women are able to self identify the symptoms of potentially serious complications, and most report seeking medical attention when advised. Results have important implications for women worldwide living in areas where access to abortion is restricted.”

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