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Monday, September 28, 2015

Abortion now available by phone

Australian women can now terminate their pregnancy by phone.  The Tabbot Foundation makes an assessment over the phone and if approved, the company sends out the drug mifepristone, as well as painkillers and anti-nausea pills to their door for the cost of $250.

From the Tabbot Foundation website.

The Tabbot Foundation has been established to provide an Australia-wide telephone consultation home medical termination of pregnancy service. Abortion has been revolutionised by the use of new medications which have been available throughout the world for more than a decade but have been restricted for use in Australia until more recently. In July 2013, after years of banning this drug’s importation into Australia by previous governments, Tanya Plibersek, as Minister of Health, approved the listing of the abortion drug mifepristone on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Plibersek described the provision of the medicine as "a good thing in the situation where women are faced with one of the most difficult decisions that they will ever make.” Mifepristone has been safely used by millions of women in more than 50 countries who have had access to it for several years. It is a safer, less invasive procedure than the alternatives not just because it can be performed much earlier than surgical abortions, but because it can be done safely in the privacy of a woman’s home without surgical intervention.The expansion of access to medical terminations by tele-medicine is particularly important to women living in rural and regional Australia. These women have to travel long distances or indeed travel interstate to undergo surgery or not had the option of surgery at all.Home-based medical abortion is intended to simplify the medical abortion regimen without compromising safety. Home-based medical abortion improves the acceptability of medical abortion by allowing for greater privacy than in-clinic abortion and giving women greater control over the timing of the abortion. In reports from France, Sweden, Tunisia and the United States, the majority of women opted for home-based medical abortion when offered the choice. Self-administration of the drugs is already common in France and the United States.

After placing the call, the patient is referred to an ultrasound and pathology test, and then consults with doctors (and a psychologist in NSW) over the phone. 

Her progress is monitored by a 24 hour on-call doctor with continued check-ups and a final blood test takes place to confirm the abortion after ten days.

This service will not only help women in rural areas, but those who feel intimidated going to an abortion clinic.  Although abortion medicine has been available for some time, it was found that some GPs are reluctant to prescribe it.  And now they won't have to.