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Telehealth provider carafem launches ‘immediate evaluation’ process for abortion pills

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Reproductive care company carafem launched a new process that aims to provide faster access to abortion pills.

Patients living in Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico and Maryland can be evaluated for the medications without a mandatory telephone or video call. After completing a form on carafem’s website, medical staff members review patient history and share information about the process and options for care using the pills.

The company said a medical professional will then approve the prescription, and the pills will be sent in the mail. Patients will also be able to use Cara, the company’s virtual assistant, who can track shipments, provide more information about the pills and answer questions.

“Abortion should be available for all who want it when they need it, and carafem’s Immediate Evaluation for abortion pills is one way to make that a bit easier,” Melissa Grant, chief operations officer and cofounder of carafem, said in a statement. “Our medical professionals strive to make abortion services more convenient, personalized and private without compromising high-quality care.”

THE LARGER TREND

Interest in medication abortion, a two-pill regimen used to end a pregnancy through 10 weeks’ gestation, grew in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. An analysis published in November found online requests to Aid Access for the medications increased after a draft was leaked and after the decision was formally announced. 

The use of medication for abortions has also steadily increased since the FDA approved mifepristone for its use in 2000. According to the Guttmacher Institute, medication abortions made up more than half of all facility-based abortions in 2020, compared with 39% in 2017.

Earlier this month the FDA said it would allow retail pharmacies to offer abortion pills for the first time in the U.S. Previously, they had only been available through some mail-order pharmacies, certified doctors or clinics. 

Anti-abortion groups are increasingly targeting the pills as more states limit abortions after Roe. In November, abortion opponents filed a lawsuit in federal court in Texas that argued the FDA didn’t have the authority to approve mifepristone.

The agency responded to the suit in a filing this week that said public interest would be harmed by “effectively withdrawing from the marketplace a safe and effective drug that has lawfully been on the market for 22 years.”



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