Abortion With Pills During Covid-19 Pandemic

 The ongoing global coronavirus pandemic has affected our lives in many ways.  Many had to deal with various stressors like joblessness, closure of offices, loneliness, uncertainty, fear of the disease, financial problems, social and economic issues.  The many restrictions imposed during the pandemic disrupted the lives of many people.  Many were fatigued with the precautionary measures implemented during the pandemic.

Abortion With Pills During Covid-19 Pandemic

With the Covid-19 pandemic, social distancing, closure of many healthcare centers, fear of people going out and getting treated, telemedicine emerged to be one of the safest interfaces between patients and doctors.  Online consultation with doctors, getting prescription medicines via mail proved to be a boon to many patients. 

Many women started getting their abortion pills also prescribed through telemedicine, as they considered abortion better to be safely done in-home setting, rather than in a clinic setting, reducing their travel hours and travel expenses.  A medical abortion can even reduce their off from workdays.

Abortion means ending a pregnancy, and when it is done either by taking medicine or via surgery, it is called an induced abortion.  It is usually performed during the first trimester of pregnancy.  There may be various reasons to abort a pregnancy.

Up until a few years ago, abortions were usually done in specialized clinics or hospitals, under the supervision of a specialist.  Ever since mifepristone has been approved by Food and Drug Administration, the use of mifepristone has gained enormous popularity for medical abortion of pregnancy up to 10 weeks gestation.

Medical abortion is not recommended for a gestation age of more than 10 weeks.  Before the pandemic, the patient visit was mandatory to get the medicine from the physician or clinic.

However, with the ongoing pandemic, and the increase in telemedicine services, doctors started prescribing mifepristone and the medicines started to be mailed to the patients, resulting in an increase in the use of prescription abortion pills, mifepristone. 

According to Guttmacher Institute, a leading reproductive rights group, the percentage of mifepristone-induced abortions rose from 44% in 2019 to 54% in 2020. New research also shows that medical abortion now accounts for more than half of the abortions that happened in recent years in the US.

More and more people are opting for abortion due to the fear of infection, low income and joblessness during the pandemic, and lack of proper healthcare accessibility. Many young females also want to get rid of their unwanted pregnancies.  Also, clinic visits for surgical abortion may predispose the women and their families to infection.

Medical abortion is actually a two-drug therapy, comprising of mifepristone first followed by misoprostol a day or two later.  Though medical abortion can be safely done at home, there may be risks of retained products of conception (pregnancy tissues) even after taking both medicines which may warrant a clinic visit or a doctor appointment soon.

Some experts are against the idea of using abortion pills to terminate the pregnancy as it may affect the health of the women.  Some states like Arizona, Arkansas, and Texas have banned mailing abortion pills and some states mandate that abortion pills be prescribed by specialized physicians and not by physician assistants.  However, medical abortion being a safe procedure, obstetricians and gynecologists emphasize that abortion pills be made available online for the convenience of the women.

The decision to opt for a medical abortion is a choice of the pregnant woman and her family.  It is always advisable to be in touch with doctors throughout the whole process of medical abortion, as there are a few risks and side effects associated with medical abortion.  Medical abortion will pill is a safe procedure and it does not affect a woman’s fertility in any way.

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