- Interest in the Choice telehealth abortion clinic has grown since the Supreme Court opinion leaked.
- The US government permanently allowed the delivery of abortion pills by mail in December 2021.
- Choice said the reversal could mean more people travel to other states to access abortion services.
Choice said interest in his services jumped 300% in the week after news broke that Roe v. Wade could potentially be canceled.abortion clinic
The Supreme Court’s draft opinion, disclosed May 3, may seek to overturn Roe v. Wade – a landmark decision that protects women’s right to abortion. If the law is overturned, could mean abortion becomes illegal in 23 states.
Choice, based in California, is a telehealth clinic for sexual and reproductive needs run by nurse practitioners and physicians.
Telehealth refers to health care services that can be delivered to patients remotely, including from the comfort of their homes, using technologies such as videoconferencing. Telehealth companies can offer
including services like online consultations and therapy.
These services have grown in popularity during the pandemic, with usage reaching more than 32% of outpatient visits conducted via telehealth in April 2020, according to data from McKinsey shows. This rate stabilized between 13% and 17% for all telehealth services, according to the report.
Choice, licensed to provide its services in California, Colorado and Illinois, said it has seen an increase in website visitors and patient inquiries about the type of care it provides, as well as an increase in inquiries about the states it serves since the leak.
“We’re getting a lot of interest. People probably want to know if they should ever need this care where they might go. I think the increase was really because people were learning more about it,” co- founder and CEO Cindy Adam mentioned.
The US government lifted the ban on mail-order abortion pills in April 2021 after the Supreme Court previously voted to ban the abortion pill mail delivery. the The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided in December last year to permanently allow abortion pills to be delivered by post rather than requiring them to be administered in person.
It’s going to be difficult for patients to get care with the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, according to Choice. The reversal could mean people traveling out of state to access telehealth abortion services.
“We suspect and we’re seeing an increase in parts of the states where it’s easier for people to travel. We’re likely to see very strong surges in Southern California and parts of Illinois where it’s easier to access care and they’re really going to be at the center of patient journeys,” Adams said.
Choice patients do not have to show proof of residency to access its services, but they must confirm their identity with a selfie as part of its admissions process. They are only required to have an address in the state served so Choice knows that patients are receiving care at or near that address.
“It will be an unfair challenge, to say the least, to see how restrictive states challenge us. It will be interesting to see how they come after telehealth abortion clinics, because they don’t require that of other telehealth providers,” Adam said. .
Choice offers abortion services by allowing customers to register on its website, create a patient portal account, and complete an online medical questionnaire. Once a patient submits their questionnaire online, a medical provider will review it within 24 hours and then determine their eligibility.
If a patient chooses to proceed, they complete final consent forms and their partner pharmacy will mail the prescription for abortion care medications, which are the exact same medications a patient would receive if they went. in a physical clinic.
Choice, which was founded in 2020, said colleagues at physical clinics are already seeing an increase in appointment requests in states like Illinois, leading to longer wait times for in-person care. .
“We hope our model will help alleviate capacity issues so that we can help book in-person visits for patients who really need or really prefer in-person care,” Adam said.
One of the challenges that telehealth abortion clinics face as a new form of care is that many people are still learning about the safety and effectiveness of medical abortion in general, and the lack of knowledge is even bigger when it comes to medical abortion via telehealth, according to Choice.
There is a lot of misinformation about the safety of medical abortion via telehealth and concerns about data privacy, he added.
“We still get calls for many weeks to make sure we’re real and have a human answer the phone. And they’re so relieved when they hear we’re here and we’re real,” Adam told Insider. .
“As understanding of abortion care via telehealth grows — and access continues to shrink — we anticipate even greater influxes of patient care demands,” she added.