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We launched the TelAbortion study in 2016 at a time when telemedicine abortion was a newly emerging idea with little documentation available for policymakers, regulators and clinicians. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dispensing restrictions prohibited the mailing of abortion pills outside of our study setting.
Five years down the line, it now seems the right time to move on and ask new questions.
Gynuity's research has shown that this model of early medication abortion care, which allows individuals to be counselled remotely and receive the medications through the mail, is safe, efficacious and acceptable.
Our paper summarizing the expansion of the TelAbortion study during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we saw usage double, demonstrated that outcomes are comparable to in-clinic care and the service is highly effective.
This paper was a primary data source used in a decision by the FDA to suspend the in-person mifepristone dispensing requirements for the duration of the pandemic. [Update: In December 2021, the FDA made the decision permanent. This change to the regulations allows for mifepristone to be sent by mail instead of requiring individuals to pick it up from a health facility.]
We have created a legacy that will impact positively the lives of people seeking abortion in the U.S., increasing options for those who have trouble getting to a clinic or choose not to go to one. Participants in our study report being very satisfied, and consistently note that privacy and convenience are the best features of this service.
We are extremely proud of what we have achieved in partnership with clinical providers across the U.S. None of this work would have been possible without them. We are delighted that this direct-to-user telemedicine abortion service will continue to be offered beyond our research project.
Pam Belluck, The New York Times, April 28, 2020
Claire Lampen, Vice, April 30, 2020
Rebecca Grant, Undark, April 5, 2021