“Telemedicine” abortions, a procedure that allows physicians to remotely supervise administration of the pregnancy-ending drug RU-486, have been deemed safe by an Iowa study. How this particular abortion procedure works is that women come in for an ultrasound before virtually receiving counseling from a doctor who then gives her the medication; there is no surgery necessary.
In the Iowa study, the participating women responded very well to the procedure with a whopping 94% saying that they felt “very satisfied” — more so than women who received face-to-face counseling. Women who opted for the telemedicine abortion were found to have had no more complications than those who had office visits in-person. However, 25% of telemedicine patients said that in retrospect, they would have preferred to have been in the same room with their doctor.
While the procedure is being praised for upholding constitutionally-protected reproductive rights in rural areas with no abortion providers, some doctors argue that telemedicine abortions fail to appropriately handle the many emotions involved in such colossal decision. Anti-choice advocates had spoken out against the procedure as being potentially unsafe for women, but medical ethicist Arthur Caplan points out that this opposition may have more to do with intentions to limit abortion access rather than concerns for women’s health.
How does this procedure sound to you, mommies? Where do you come down on this issue?