Overland Park, Kan. – Following a recent court ruling allowing doctors to provide medication abortions via telemedicine, Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains (CHPPGP) launched telehealth medication abortion services in Kansas in an effort to expand care options. CHPPGP operates three health centers across the state where abortion remains protected after Kansans overwhelming rejected a ballot measure that would have eliminated any right to abortion in the state’s constitution and opened the door to dangerous abortion bans.
Patients receiving a medication abortion via telehealth will be seen in-person at a CHPPGP-operated health center in Kansas to complete consent requirements and an evaluation, but the telehealth physician may be in any state where abortion is legal. This allows CHPPGP health centers to offer more appointment availability in a region of the country that has long faced gaps in provider coverage.
Statement from Emily Wales, president and CEO, Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains:
"Despite this devastating time for reproductive rights, Kansas remains a place that respects patients and their personal health care decisions. Offering medication abortion through telehealth allows CHPPGP to meet the needs of more patients, in an even more timely manner, by greatly increasing the number of physicians available to deliver care. This is a win not only for Kansans but for patients in surrounding states traveling for care, who have suffered as politicians prioritized scoring points over the rights of patients. We are proud to meet the moment by offering health care to all, regardless of where they live."
Statement from Dr. Iman Alsaden, chief medical officer, Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains:
“As an abortion provider in an area where there have been few offering this care, my team and I have faced harmful bans over the past year. We have treated countless patients – many of whom have traveled through the night – who are confused why they now must overcome obstacles to care that should be available in their communities. By offering medication abortion via telehealth in Kansas, we can now see patients we might not otherwise have been able to treat because of a lack of provider coverage in this region. It’s an important step in expanding access in a state like Kansas that has proven it values every person’s ability to make their own health care decisions.”
To compensate for provider shortages, CHPPGP has safely and effectively relied on fly-in physicians at its health centers when and where staffing a full-time physician has not been possible. With the Shawnee District Court ruling last month, this is no longer necessary to provide medication abortion, which is the most common method of terminating a pregnancy. With access to more doctors, more patients living in and around Kansas will be able to receive the care they need when they need it.
Since the overruling of Roe v. Wade last summer, CHPPGP’s health centers in Kansas have worked to meet an overwhelming need for patients throughout the region who immediately lost abortion access in their home states, including Arkansas and Missouri. In May, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Oklahoma became the first state to ban abortion entirely, with a bounty-hunting scheme similar to Texas’s S.B. 8, which encourages the general public to bring costly and harassing lawsuits against abortion providers, health center workers, or any person who helps someone access an abortion.
Medication abortion – not to be confused with birth control or emergency contraception (e.g., Plan B or Ella) – is a safe and effective method of ending an early pregnancy and is typically prescribed within the first ten weeks. During the appointment, in-clinic staff will meet with the patient to complete necessary consent and care procedures before being administered the medication under the observation of the telehealth physician.
Physicians providing medication abortions via telehealth must be licensed to provide care in the state of Kansas.