Abortion pills by mail studied in four states

A package of pills sent to patients in a study on medical abortions.

Story highlights

  • Advocates say telemedicine and mail-order drugs would provide a welcome new option
  • Opponents of abortion find the concept dangerous and deeply disturbing

When the abortion pills arrived in her mailbox this summer, she felt anxious but also in control, knowing she could end her pregnancy entirely in the privacy of her own home.

"I was happy that I was going to be able to do it myself and I did not have a nurse there or doctors there staring at me and judging me," she said, asking to be identified only by her middle name, Marie, because she did not want people outside her immediate family to know about her abortion.
Marie is part of a small but closely watched research effort to determine whether medical abortions -- those induced by medicine instead of surgery -- can be done safely through an online consultation with a doctor and drugs mailed to a woman's home.
    At a time when access to abortion is being restricted on many fronts, advocates say being able to terminate a pregnancy through telemedicine and mail-order drugs would provide a welcome new option for women. Opponents of abortion find the concept dangerous and deeply disturbing.
    Abortion rates hit historic low in developed world but not elsewhere, report says