Women who want to have an abortion currently have to visit a clinic; however, new research is looking at the possibility of allowing them to have a medical abortion in their own home.
In future, women who wish to terminate a pregnancy may be able to use what is being described as a mail-order service, which will see them having a videoconference consultation with an abortion provider before the required abortion medications are sent to their home.
The TelAbortion research project is looking at using telemedicine to allow women who find it difficult to get to an abortion clinic to have a medical abortion at home. While the idea of mail-order abortions is new to the UK and US, women in Australia and British Columbia, Canada already have the right to order abortion pills by mail after consulting a doctor online or over the phone; in addition, some organisations offer medical abortions to women who live in countries where abortion is restricted or unavailable.
The abortion medicines being looked at are mifepristone and misoprostol. According to Planned Parenthood, mifepristone (trade name Mifeprex) works by blocking the hormone progesterone, causing the lining of the uterus to break down and ending the pregnancy. Misoprostol, which is taken 24 to 48 hours later, causes the uterus to empty. The trade names for misoprostol include Cytotec.
As with any medical research project, experienced staff are required to ensure the data collected is robust and accurate. Many medical companies will use a contract research organization to facilitate this.
A contract research organization supports research projects and clinical trials to ensure their success. When looking at evaluating any medical procedure or medicine, you might wonder where can I find a contract research organization? You will also need to make sure the one you choose has a proven reputation.
The New York Times has reported that 12 women have taken part in the study, with 11 who took the medication reporting no complications.
While the FDA warns against buying the drugs online, TelAbortion says women are given the same medications they would receive in a clinic and undergo the same evaluation procedures.
A mail-order or telemedical abortion may therefore be safe for many women who are less than 10 weeks pregnant who want to avoid a surgically-induced abortion.