Telemedicine abortion is growing in parts of the United States

Open box containing pills and a pregnancy test.
Wisp is a telehealth company focused on reproductive health. | Image: Twig

Reproductive health-focused telemedicine company Wisp is expanding access to abortion pills to six more states, it announced Monday. The company launched abortion care in August with a program in California, and the service will now be available in Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New York and Washington.

Wisp is able to offer abortion pills via telehealth due to new rules introduced by the Food and Drug Administration during the pandemic. Prior to the public health emergency, people had to see providers in person in order to obtain mifepristone, one of two drugs used in a medical abortion. The agency relaxed the rules at the start of the pandemic, then permanently lifted them at the end of 2021.

“We believe that abortion is an essential aspect of health care, and we are committed to offering it as an option to our patients, in states where it is legal, so that they can take ownership of this aspect of their lives. privacy and respect,” Ahmad Bani, CEO of Wisp, said in a statement at the service’s launch in California.

Part of this statement – “where legal” – is essential. Some states have banned the use of telehealth services for abortions. Abortion laws are still changing across the country, making some of these services a legal gray area in some places. Services like Wisp’s help expand access to abortion in places where the medical procedure is already legal. Abortion may be legal in these places, but it’s not always accessible to everyone (taking the time to drive to a clinic is a hindrance for many people, for example). The expansion underscores the growing divide in the United States between where people can benefit from a safe health care procedure and where they cannot.

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