As abortion laws in the U.S. have become more restrictive, some women have turned to dangerous methods of terminating their pregnancies at home. But there are safe ways for women to obtain abortions outside of formal health care settings, and a new study underscores the effectiveness of one of these methods: telemedicine.
In the new report, which was published Tuesday in The BMJ, researchers examined self-reported outcomes from 1,000 women in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland who used telemedicine to obtain abortion pills—mifepristone and misoprostol—between 2010 and 2012. After receiving the pills in the mail, women were guided through the abortion process with real-time instructions and support from an online help desk overseen by doctors. The researchers found that 95% of these self-sourced and self-managed abortions were successful.
They also found low rates of complications. Less than 1% of the women reported needing a blood transfusion, and 2.6% said they received antibiotics. Less than 10% reported symptoms of potentially serious complications, and almost all of those women said they sought in-person medical attention when they were advised to do so.
The women in the …