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What is Telemedicine?

Planned Parenthood’s telemedicine program offers patients the same high-quality care they would receive during a regular visit to any health center. Research has shown that medication abortion provided by telemedicine is safe and effective. A health center staff person is with the patient and available for in-person assistance at all times during the telemedicine visit.

How Telemedicine Abortion Works

First, the patient meets with local Planned Parenthood staff and is given information about all their options. No matter what decision a patient makes about their pregnancy, Planned Parenthood answers questions, gives them accurate information, and offers nonjudgmental support. If the patient decides to move forward with the medication abortion, they complete a medical history, have an ultrasound to determine the size of the pregnancy, and vital signs are taken.

Next, the patient consults with a licensed health care provider using a private and secure video conference, allowing the patient and provider to hear and see each other. The provider reviews the patient’s chart, including the results of the patient screening to confirm that medication abortion is an appropriate option for them. The provider also reviews the medication abortion process with the patient, including the range of symptoms they should expect, and provides the patient with an opportunity to ask as many questions as they want. The patient receives resources, including a medication guide and a telephone number to call with any questions 24/7.

Medication abortion – a safe and legal way to end a pregnancy – involves taking two FDA-approved medications. While in the health center, the patient will first take a medication called mifepristone, which works by blocking the hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, the pregnancy cannot continue. The patient later takes the second medication, called misoprostol, at home 1-2 days after the mifepristone. Misoprostol causes cramping that empties the uterus, much like an early miscarriage.

The last step in a medication abortion is a follow-up appointment, a week or two after the abortion. The patient returns to the health center and meets with local Planned Parenthood staff for testing to ensure the abortion is complete.

Telemedicine Abortion

Telemedicine Abortion

In Iowa, medication abortion is accessible through telemedicine. The patient is seen in a health center by a medical team and consults with the physician via a private, secure video-conferencing platform. Telemedicine makes abortion care more accessible with the same level of care, comfort, and safety as a traditional medication abortion procedure.

Get the facts about abortion.

Medication Abortion

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In-Clinic Abortion

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