Planned Parenthood North Central States Lead Researcher Author on New Study Showing Safety of Medication Abortion Pills Sent Through The Mail
St. Paul, MN—Medication abortions obtained through the mail or prescription pick up are as safe and effective as those that are performed in a health center, according to a newly released study co-authored by Dr. Christy Boraas, Director of Research and Associate Medical Director of Planned Parenthood North Central States.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, involved nearly 3,800 patients from 34 states, including from four Planned Parenthood health centers across Minnesota. The study found that screening for medication abortion eligibility based on patients’ medical histories was as safe as those that required an ultrasound or exam.
“This important study affirms that medication abortions obtained without a doctor’s visit are safe and effective and increase access to abortion by removing barriers to care,” said Sarah A. Stoesz, President, and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States. “It’s disheartening that politicians are using misinformation to attack medication abortion. All patients deserve comprehensive health care, including abortion, not dangerous restrictions that exacerbate existing gaping health inequalities. The science is proving what we already know- politician’s restrictions on abortion are not based in science or fact.”
Medication abortions account for more than half of all abortions in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute. They increased from being 37% of all abortions in 2017 to 54% in 2020, the most recent data available. Abortions have historically required an in-person exam, but the federal Food and Drug Administration amended those rules during the COVID-19 pandemic allowing patients to forego in-person visits and receive medication abortion pills through the mail.
A majority of PPNCS’ five-state region either currently has restrictions on medication abortions or has introduced them during the 2022 legislative session. North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska have existing bans on telemedicine medication abortions and require in-person visits. Iowa requires patients have an ultrasound before any abortion, including medication abortions. Minnesota currently does not restrict medication abortions.
“Medication abortion is safe, common, and essential health care and this study affirms they are just as safe when the pills are accessible without a doctor’s visit,” said Dr. Boraas. “People deserve the right to make their own personal decisions about their lives and futures. Making medication abortion more easily available helps break down barriers and inequities our patients face in accessing medication abortion during a time in which reproductive freedoms are under attack like never before.”
Planned Parenthood North Central States and its subsidiary organizations provide, promote, and protect reproductive and sexual health through high quality care, education and advocacy. A member of America’s most trusted reproductive health care provider, our affiliate is proud to support and operate 28 health centers across our five-state region (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota). Each year, we provide health care to nearly 115,000 people and health education to more than 55,000 people in our region.