Telemedicine has become a new model for medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic with limited in-person clinics. A woman can receive the abortion pill by mail after ordering online without a full medical assessment by a healthcare provider and ultrasound to confirm a healthy pregnancy that will continue. Furthermore, in most cases, these options do not require a follow-up visit with a medical provider.
The following information will give you an idea of why these options are not beneficial and in fact, cause more harm than good.
Prior to COVID-19, to confirm a pregnancy, the woman would make an appointment for a pregnancy test confirmation by a medical professional.
After a positive pregnancy test, a comprehensive medical assessment and an ultrasound would be performed by a trained medical professional. The ultrasound would confirm an intrauterine pregnancy, proper dating (how far along she is in her pregnancy), and detect a fetal heartbeat.
The ultrasound provides a gateway for the woman to have all the information she needs to make a truly informed decision. It also is a means of early detection and intervention of life-threatening conditions, such as an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage that can be immediately addressed by the medical provider.
The COVID-19 telemedicine protocols for the abortion pill are a gross contrast to the former proper medical assessments. Now, there is no in-patient consultation or examination. Instead, there’s only an initial screening over the phone to determine eligibility to receive the abortion pill.
Depending on geographic location, some providers only require the last menstrual period to confirm gestation and proceed to prescribe the abortion pill. The patient is set up to create a no-test pickup where she can quickly pick up the pill in a brown paper bag and is sent on her way.
The reality is self-managed abortion not safe, as removes the common-sense safeguards of proper medical procedures. It eliminates the in-person examinations and in-clinic pregnancy testing for accuracy, and instead, relies on at-home pregnancy tests not being interpreted by trained health care professionals.
Diagnostics such as ultrasound are not performed to determine the viability of the pregnancy. Furthermore, there is no education for potential miscarriage and ectopic pregnancies advising patients to seek emergent medical attention if they develop severe abdominal or pelvic pain, lightheadedness, dizziness, blackouts, low blood pressure, the passage of tissue, and life-threatening hemorrhages.
The abortion pill, Mifepristone, carries 4-5 more complications for infection, undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy, failure to abort (women can still remain pregnant when abortion pill fails), and bleeding which will ultimately lead to emergent surgical intervention.
The abortion pill has a 4-5x likelihood of complication of hemorrhage, which can last 2 weeks or more.
Under no circumstance is self-managed abortion safe and Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center continues to adhere to the best practice guidelines to keep our patients safe through an in-person, comprehensive assessment.
The good news is that even in a COVID-19 pandemic if you have an unplanned pregnancy, there are safe resources and options still available that are in full compliance with CDC guidelines.
Please contact our clinic to speak with our medical staff.