Our latest campaign centres on the success of telemedicine in providing safe, effective, and accessible abortion care, and the fight to make these important changes permanent
What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the use of technology, such as telephones and video calls, to deliver remote consultations. In abortion care, telemedicine has come to represent the use of technology to reach women and pregnant people for consultations and then send a treatment package to enable the self-administration of abortion medications.
Long before the current pandemic, research had shown that medical abortions through telemedicine are hugely acceptable to women and are as effective as in-person care: rates of hospitalisation, continuing pregnancy, complete abortion, haemorrhage and hospitalisation are similar to those for in-person abortion care. As such NICE made recommendations in 2019 that included the expansion of abortion access through telemedicine.
But in the broader context of healthcare provision during the pandemic, the necessary restructuring of services during lockdown afforded abortion providers an opportunity to develop a new pathway of delivering abortion care that would have otherwise required unprecedented political support.
These changes, however, were only possible due to temporary emergency regulations. The progress made during the pandemic is at risk of political interference, with the UK governments and devolved administrations soon publishing the results of their consultations on the continued use of telemedicine.