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Sat Aug 30, 2014, 06:03 AM

The Future of Abortion Is Here—No Clinic Needed

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/future-abortion-here-no-clinic-needed



The word abortion usually conjures images of tile-floored clinics, doctors in white lab coats and waiting rooms full of anxious women. But one Dutch doctor is working to revolutionize access to the procedure, bypassing the clinic and turning to a novel method of delivery: the Internet.

In a powerful New York Times Magazine piece coming out this weekend, Emily Bazelon profiles Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch doctor and abortion rights activist who runs Women on Web, a “telemedicine service.” The Amsterdam-based group connects with women in countries where abortion is severely restricted or illegal, providing them with medical advice, support and prescriptions for mifepristone and misoprostol, pills that are given to women during the first trimester in order to induce miscarriage. Some 2,000 women a month, from countries as far-flung as Chile, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica and South Korea, contact Women on Web asking for help accessing the drugs, which are known as a medical abortion. When taken together, the pills are 95 to 98% effective—roughly the same effectiveness rate as the surgical procedure.

Once clients are in touch with the organization’s representatives and have paid for the medication according to a sliding scale, the process goes like this:

Their consultation is sent to one of the group’s five physicians for review.

After it has been approved, the doctor writes a prescription for mifepristone and misoprostol and sends it electronically to a drug exporter in India.

The exporter fills it and sends the medication to the women in a package with a tracking number so that delivery can be monitored.
Once the pills arrive, a Women on Web employee sends an email instructing the women how they should be taken and what side effects to expect.

Help-desk staff remain on call to follow up with women who have concerns during the procedure and to advise them how to avoid criminal charges if they require medical attention, but fear legal persecution.

Though it may seem radical to conceive of an abortion performed without any doctor visits or in-person care, the service offered by Women on Web has proved life-changing for women in countries where abortion is forbidden under any circumstances, such as Chile, or where women have lost loved ones to botched abortions, such as Uganda. As Bazelon points out, almost 40% of the world’s population lives in countries where abortion is either banned or severely restricted. Women on Web provides an alternative for women whose lives have been derailed by unintended pregnancies.

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Future of Abortion Is Here—No Clinic Needed (Original post)
xchrom Aug 2014 OP
littlemissmartypants Aug 2014 #1
xchrom Aug 2014 #3
LuvNewcastle Aug 2014 #2
littlemissmartypants Aug 2014 #4
Prophet 451 Aug 2014 #5
littlemissmartypants Aug 2014 #6
Prophet 451 Aug 2014 #7
mopinko Aug 2014 #26
Prophet 451 Aug 2014 #35
raven mad Aug 2014 #29
davidpdx Aug 2014 #11
Kath1 Aug 2014 #13
BrotherIvan Aug 2014 #20
Laelth Aug 2014 #8
Kath1 Aug 2014 #9
davidpdx Aug 2014 #10
NoRWNJ Aug 2014 #14
calimary Aug 2014 #34
Sienna86 Aug 2014 #12
avebury Aug 2014 #15
secondwind Aug 2014 #16
Codeine Aug 2014 #19
L0oniX Aug 2014 #17
ninjanurse Aug 2014 #18
BrotherIvan Aug 2014 #21
raven mad Aug 2014 #32
Yavin4 Aug 2014 #22
pnwmom Aug 2014 #23
littlemissmartypants Aug 2014 #30
TBF Aug 2014 #24
BlancheSplanchnik Aug 2014 #28
malthaussen Aug 2014 #25
pleinair Aug 2014 #27
Liberal_in_LA Aug 2014 #31
mountain grammy Aug 2014 #33
Delphinus Aug 2014 #36

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 06:36 AM

1. Excellent catch, xchrom.

Thanks for posting this!

Love, Peace and the Righteous Fight!
~ littlemissmartypants

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #1)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 06:37 AM

3. ...

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 06:37 AM

2. Awesome!

Hopefully, any kind of clinic will be able to prescribe and/or dispense these meds in the U.S. Try picketing ALL medical clinics, anti-choice assholes!

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Response to LuvNewcastle (Reply #2)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 06:44 AM

4. Let's not forget that they want to control our interwebs.

I am so sick of them and their evil.

This is a great work around for many not in the USA.
Our fight against them should not slow down.
They want to rule the world.
That's what Syria and Ukraine are all about.
Destabilize and conquer.
Power and Control.
Same biscuit, different tea time.

Love, Peace and the Righteous Fight!
~ littlemissmartypants

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 06:45 AM

5. Fascinating idea

It is fairly radical but perhaps radicalism is required now that the anti-choice side has become so extreme.

I was going to question whether the limit to first trimester was an issue but a couple of minutes Googling tells me that around 90% of abortions are first trimester (at least, in nations where abortion is legal).

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Response to Prophet 451 (Reply #5)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 06:54 AM

6. Perfect exploitation of telemedicine for good. They are going to need good security.

Keep the evil f*cks from paying cyber saboteurs to sour the deal.
( They probably already have a focus group planned.)

Fantastic news, imo.

Telemedicine is gaining steam for many reasons. This is a great one.

Love, Peace and the Righteous Fight!
~ littlemissmartypants

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #6)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 06:59 AM

7. I had misgivings on first scanning the article

My misgivings can be summed up as the recognition that emergency contraception is a fairly hefty dose of hormones and that the law of human stupidity would guarantee that some idiot would gobble the things like M&Ms. But reading the article more fully, they seem to have included enough safeguards to make that unlikely (although there's no real way to make it impossible).

I agree, excellent news. And with fascinating implications for telemedicine in the future.

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Response to Prophet 451 (Reply #7)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 10:15 PM

26. idiots who gobble them like m&m's? rly?

that is your first reaction?
i am glad you read through it, but perhaps you should think a little harder about your first reactions.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #26)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 10:43 PM

35. Really.

Rule of human stupidity: There is nothing so dumb that someone, somewhere, will not try it.

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Response to Prophet 451 (Reply #7)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 11:55 PM

29. I understand where the misgivings are from. +1

I'm old enough to remember the terror at thinking I was pregnant at 15. I wasn't, but a scared kid who was pregnant would probably try to eat a "bunch" just to be sure...........

I like this news - and the safeguards do seem more than adequate (which is better than we can say about most "medicine" in the system).

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #6)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 07:38 AM

11. Even more so here in South Korea

Not near as bad as in China, but still quite a bit worse than in the US. You guys over there still got it good.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #6)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 07:44 AM

13. "They are going to need good security."

Yes, and good lawyers, too.

You know the RW will try to shut this down under the theory that it is somehow "harmful to women."

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Response to Kath1 (Reply #13)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 01:18 PM

20. They will do it by flagging the pills at post

They are already cracking down hard on drugs from other countries to make sure they get their profits.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 07:02 AM

8. k&r for exposure. n/t

-Laelth

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 07:35 AM

9. Excellent news!

It seems safe and is accessable for most women.

Sort of like the "morning after" pill only it is not limited to the morning after.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 07:36 AM

10. Abortion is illegal in South Korea

but not completely impossible to get. One of the reasons it is illegal is because sex-selection abortions were popular in the past. Due to that happening it has caused a large imbalance in the number of men and women. There are actually many men who end up not being able to marry a Korean woman and instead chose to marry a Filipino, Chinese, Thai, etc. through agencies. Women are waiting later in life to get married to have a family and only having one child leading to a decrease in the birth rate.

So unfortunately that one problem has now caused multiple other problems.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #10)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 08:10 AM

14. it is illegal in Nicaragua too

and carries stiff penalties.

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Response to NoRWNJ (Reply #14)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 02:29 AM

34. Welcome to DU, NoRWNJ!

Glad you're here! This kind of development and adaptation to ongoing harassment, violations of privacy, and outright persecution (in some cases even stalking, threats, and assassination!) is inevitable. Women simply will NOT go back.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 07:42 AM

12. Had not heard of this. Glad they exist.

I am grateful this alternative exists.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 08:16 AM

15. This would be a great way

to respond to state efforts to deny women reproductive health freedom. I can see head's exploding if it becomes available here. People would have to become creative in how it is implemented in the US to prevent interference and attempts to make it illegal.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 08:44 AM

16. They lost me at "a drug exporter in India".....

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Response to secondwind (Reply #16)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 09:07 AM

19. Why?

 

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is huge. Chances are good that if you've used a generic prescription drug you've used an Indian product.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 08:57 AM

17. K & R

 

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 08:58 AM

18. In the US

There are many women who can't get an appointment in their state for a safe and confidential consultation with a medical provider to discuss whether they want to continue a pregnancy or terminate. Women should be able to get this kind of care from their own general practitioner or gyn. That would defuse the people who think a waiting period or ultrasound are needed because women don't know their own minds.

Women in the US are already going from Texas to Mexico to buy these drugs. The anti-choice people have closed the door on the very chance for thoughtful and professional advice and medical oversight they claim to want.

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Response to ninjanurse (Reply #18)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 01:24 PM

21. Absolutely

By restricting access to safe medical abortions, they are basically pushing women into back alley or self-induced abortions, neither of which are safe. Or admitting they are shutting down clinics so someone has to go to another state! Because everyone has the means to take days off work, drive across Texas to NM, stay in a hotel, and pay for the procedure on top of everything.

I applaud this program wholeheartedly. I hope the information spreads so women know they have the option. And I hope that hospitals don't take up testing for these drugs if someone needs to go to the hospital for complications. I'm sure the fundies will get right on laws to make sure this is illegal, because nothing else in the world, such as education and feeding of them already born beautiful babies is as important!

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Response to ninjanurse (Reply #18)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 12:04 AM

32. +2 on this one, ninjanurse!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 01:26 PM

22. Not am ideal solution but better than a coat hanger or going to some dark under ground provider

Medically induced miscarriages seem to be the future for abortions. This gets around the whole movement to regulate clinics out of existence.

However, the pro-lifers will start targeting women who have miscarriages.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 01:57 PM

23. But if it eliminates many clinics, that will make it even harder for the women

who want abortions but are too far along for the pills -- including many women whose babies have birth defects discovered with amnio.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #23)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 11:59 PM

30. Many clinics have already been eliminated.

It's part of the ALEC plan to end a woman's right to choose in the USA.


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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 02:53 PM

24. Net neutrality becomes even more important -

we must not let them take it away. We need the net for organizing and we need it for our health.

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Response to TBF (Reply #24)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 11:50 PM

28. so true. and thank women and our allies for this!

Makes me think of comparisons to the famous underground railroad...an earlier web of people saving lives.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 08:45 PM

25. Well, that looks positive.

So long as the women in question can discover that this solution exists.

-- Mal

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 10:51 PM

27. here's hoping

Many people can be helped, safely

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 12:02 AM

31. good idea

 

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 12:12 AM

33. This is welcomed and long past due

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 11:08 PM

36. So glad to read this.

Thank you.

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