Gynuity Health Projects


Providing medical abortion using telemedicine

Access to abortion in the U.S. is becoming increasingly limited. Since 2011, at least 162 providers have closed, while only 21 have opened. At least 4 states have only 1 abortion provider, and it is not uncommon for some women to travel 50 or more miles to reach the nearest facility. The time, money, lost wages, and childcare arrangements involved in accessing this basic reproductive right can be a substantial hardship for many women.

One way to reduce these barriers would be to enable women to obtain abortions without going in person to an abortion provider – that is, by telemedicine. Telemedicine is the remote delivery of health care services and clinical information using a variety of telecommunications including phone, video, and the internet. Use of telemedicine has grown rapidly and is now a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Gynuity is conducting a pilot study of a telemedicine abortion service called TelAbortion. We are looking at the safety and feasibility of operating this model of service, and its acceptability to patients and providers. We will enroll 50 women in Hawaii, New York, Oregon and Washington State. Eligible patients obtain standard pre-abortion tests at facilities close to them. The abortion providers in our study review the test results, and if everything looks fine, mail the abortion pills to the patient. The patient has post-abortion tests also at facilities close to her, and a follow-up consultation with the provider.

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Read press coverage about the TelAbortion project here:

The New York Times, A Study Tests the Safety of Women Using Abortion Pills Sent by Mail, November 10, 2016.

The Guardian, Abortion without the clinic on offer with revolutionary new US program, March 31, 2016.

Tonic, How the Post Office Could Solve Abortion Access, November 23, 2016.