Tele-Abortion

Can I Get the Abortion Pill by Post?

  • Telehealth abortions usually involve an online consultation followed by an abortion pill delivery.
  • Many countries started offering abortion pills by post since the coronavirus outbreak.
  • This article informs you about the stipulations, steps, and cost of telehealth abortions internationally.

⚖️ Wondering whether to get an Abortion? Take the Abortion Test

What Is a Telehealth Abortion?

Telehealth abortion, aka telemedicine abortion, is a process of accessing abortion pills through online medical professionals rather than visiting a local provider. It usually involves a phone or online video consultation with a medical doctor followed by an abortion pill delivery. The abortion is carried out at home under the remote supervision of a doctor.

Stipulations for Getting a Telehealth Abortion

Since telemedicine abortions take place without the physical presence of a medical doctor, they are highly regulated to protect your health. Stipulations include:

Timing

  • Teleabortions can be performed up to nine weeks of pregnancy (Australia, UK, Ireland, South Africa) or under ten weeks (USA, New Zealand, and Canada).
  • Any requirements, such as ultrasounds, urine pregnancy tests, and blood tests, must be completed before this deadline.
  • Consultations must happen several days before the cut-off date, as shipping times are taken into consideration.

Location

You must live within a 2-hour drive of an emergency room in the event that you need treatment.

You must provide a delivery address in a region where teleabortions are legal.

Age

To access the abortion pill online, you must be at least 16 (Australia) and 18 (in the US and South Africa).

Health

For your safety, you cannot have a telehealth abortion if:

  • you have an IUD. This would have to be removed before proceeding.
  • you are on medications that exasperate bleeding, such as steroids or blood thinners (anticoagulants).
  • you have heart, liver, or kidney problems.
  • you have a history of hemorrhaging.
  • you are anemic.
  • you have a known allergy to mifepristone or misoprostol.
  • you have or suspect an ectopic pregnancy

Taking the abortion pill despite these contraindications could be life-threatening. Discuss any concerns you might have with your doctor.

For more information about the process, risks, and side effects of a medicinal abortion, go to The Abortion Pill.

Ability

You must have internet access and be able to follow directions.

Consent

You can only have a telemedicine abortion if you are willing to undergo surgery, should the abortion pill fail. This happens in 3-5% of cases.

Telemedicine Abortion Near Me?

Is abortion by post available in my area? What are the conditions, and what else do I need to know? Click on your country to find out!

USA

Telehealth Abortions are possible in the following 22 states:

Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington

In the US, telemedicine abortion usually consists of the following steps:

After the woman submits a questionnaire to ensure she fulfills the stipulations, she will receive a text from the remote abortion provider to set up a video consultation.

Following the consultation, she will be expected to sign the consent forms and make a payment. Within the next few days, the abortion pills, pain medication, and anti-nausea medication will be sent by mail.

The actual process of abortion takes several days. The first pill causes the supply to the embryo to be cut off, leading to its demise. The second set of pills (2 days later) causes the expulsion of the embryo, accompanied by cramping and bleeding. The effect of this medication is usually intense, preventing any other activity on that day. Four weeks later, the woman may take a home pregnancy test to determine whether the abortion is complete.

Total Cost:

Telehealth abortions are often provided on a sliding scale. Depending on the woman's income, she would pay between $150 and $350.

UK

The abortion pill by post is unavailable in Northern Ireland due to abortion regulations.

In the UK, telemedicine abortions usually consist of the following steps:

After the initial consultation, which ensures that the woman fulfills all stipulations and understands the procedure, she will be sent the pills in the mail with instructions.

The actual process of abortion takes several days. The first pill causes the supply to the embryo to be cut off, leading to its demise. The second set of pills (2 days later) causes the expulsion of the embryo, accompanied by cramping and bleeding. The effect of this medication is usually intense, preventing any other activity on that day. Four weeks later, the woman can take a home pregnancy test to determine whether the abortion is complete.

D&Cs become necessary in 3-5% of cases due to an incomplete abortion.

Total Cost:

Telehealth Abortions are free under NHS.

Australia

Telemedicine abortions are available everywhere but in South Australia and ACT. In WA, a tele-abortion requires a referral from two doctors.

In Australia, teleabortion usually consists of several steps, each of which accrues different costs. After the initial consultation, which ensures that the woman fulfills all stipulations and understands the procedure ($75 or free with Medicaid), she must have an ultrasound ($199 - $250) and blood test ($45 - $120) and send the results to the online provider. The pregnancy must be at least six weeks to be visible on an ultrasound. Performing the ultrasound too early will necessitate a second scan. After assessing the results, the online provider will schedule a second consultation ($270 - $345). The woman then receives a prescription which can be filled at a pharmacy ($53) or delivered via courier ($83).

The actual process of abortion takes several days. The first pill causes the supply to the embryo to be cut off, leading to its demise. The second set of pills (2 days later) causes the expulsion of the embryo, accompanied by cramping and bleeding. The effect of this medication is usually intense, preventing all other activity on that day.

One week later, there will be a post-procedural online consultation. Usually, the woman will have another blood test ($45 - $120) to confirm that the abortion is complete. Four weeks later, she can take a home pregnancy test to determine whether the abortion is complete.

Total Cost:

  • Without Medicaid, approx.: $1,000. With Medicaid, $600
  • D&Cs become necessary in 3-5% of cases due to an incomplete abortion. These are billed separately at $330 - $500.

Canada

In Canada, telemedicine abortion usually consists of the following steps:

After the initial consultation, which ensures that the woman fulfills all stipulations and understands the procedure, she may need blood tests or an ultrasound if deemed necessary by the physician. The pills will then be sent in the mail with instructions.

The actual process of abortion takes several days. The first pill causes the supply to the embryo to be cut off, leading to its demise. The second set of pills (2 days later) causes the expulsion of the embryo, accompanied by cramping and bleeding. The effect of this medication is usually intense, preventing any other activity on that day. A video consultation is scheduled for the week following the abortion. Four weeks later, the woman can take a home pregnancy test to determine whether the abortion is complete before her four-week follow-up appointment. If the pregnancy test is still positive, a five-week follow-up appointment is set to determine whether a D&C is necessary to complete the abortion. This happens in 3-5% of cases.

Total Cost:

Telemedicine abortions are free for Canadian citizens.

South Africa

In South Africa, teleabortion usually consists of several steps:

After an initial consultation to ensure that the woman fulfills the stipulations and understands the procedure, a fee of R2,000 is due. The pills can then be collected or sent by mail.

The actual process of abortion takes several days. The first pill causes the supply to the embryo to be cut off, leading to its demise. The second set of pills (2 days later) causes the expulsion of the embryo, accompanied by cramping and bleeding. The effect of this medication is usually intense, preventing all other activity on that day. Four weeks later, the woman can take a home pregnancy test to determine whether the abortion is complete.

Total Cost

  • R 1035
  • D&Cs become necessary in 3-5% of cases due to an incomplete abortion. These are billed separately at R 1035.

Ireland

In Ireland, telemedicine abortions usually consist of the following steps:

After the initial consultation, which ensures that the woman fulfills all stipulations and understands the procedure, she may need an ultrasound to determine how far along she is. Following the mandatory three-day waiting period, the woman will have a second phone consultation, after which the pills may be collected at the abortion clinic.

The actual process of abortion takes several days. The first pill causes the supply to the embryo to be cut off, leading to its demise. The second set of pills (2 days later) causes the expulsion of the embryo, accompanied by cramping and bleeding. The effect of this medication is usually intense, preventing any other activity on that day. Two weeks later, the woman can take a home pregnancy test to determine whether the abortion is complete and will then receive a phone call from the abortion clinic.

D&Cs are offered in 3-5% of cases when the abortion is incomplete.

Cost:

  • Telehealth Abortions are free for all women in the Republic of Ireland.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, teleabortion usually consists of the following steps:

After the initial consultation, which ensures that the woman fulfills all stipulations and understands the procedure, she must have an ultrasound ($160 - $230). Sometimes, a blood test is also ordered. The results are then sent to the online provider. The pregnancy must be at least six weeks to be visible on the ultrasound. Performing the ultrasound too early will necessitate a second ultrasound. The abortion provider reviews the results and notifies you that the drugs have been sent by courier, taking 1-3 days to arrive.

The actual process of abortion takes several days. The first pill causes the supply to the embryo to be cut off, leading to its demise. The second set of pills (2 days later) causes the expulsion of the embryo, accompanied by cramping and bleeding. The effect of this medication is usually intense, preventing any other activity on that day. Four weeks later, the woman can take a home pregnancy test to determine whether the abortion is complete.

Total Cost:

  • Women eligible for public-funded health care in Mid-Central, Whanganui, Wairarapa, and Southern DHB regions only pay for their ultrasound: $160-$220.
  • If you are outside of these regions or not a New Zealand citizen, the cost is approx. NZ $1,200: $950 for the abortion pills and $160-$220 for the ultrasound.
  • D&Cs become necessary in 3-5% of cases due to an incomplete abortion. These are billed separately and are free to anyone eligible for publicly funded healthcare. Non-citizens pay between NZ $840 and $3,158.

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Your body is unique, which could mean your procedure won't go precisely as described above. For potential risks, go to

  • 🛤 Risks and Side Effects of an Abortion — Including Self-Evaluation
  • It is okay to change your mind after the consultation or once you receive your pack. You are not obligated to take it only because a doctor prescribed it. It is always up to you to decide. Are you having second thoughts after taking the first abortion pill?

Go to Abortion Pill Reversal

Disadvantages of Telehealth Abortions

It is essential to consider the safety concerns regarding telemedicine abortions:

  • Without ultrasound is easy to miscalculate how far along you are in your pregnancy. This could result in an abortion being conducted too late in the pregnancy. Gestational limits are in place for your protection. A later abortion will likely result in heavy bleeding or serious complications requiring surgery.  
  • Without the physical presence of a doctor, ectopic pregnancies would be left undiagnosed. Since the effect of the abortion regimen would mask the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, medical attention may be sought too late.
  • Delays in the delivery of the drugs could cause abortions to be conducted later than deemed medically safe. 

Can I Order Abortion Pills Online

Perhaps you are thinking about ordering abortion pills online without medical supervision.

Purchasing abortion pills from another country (the MTP-Kit) is illegal and not recommended. Ordering the abortion pill over the internet bypasses safeguards to protect your health because:

  • You have not been professionally assessed whether the abortion pill is suitable for you.
  • The quality is not guaranteed, which could render the pills ineffective or harmful.
  • Little information is provided to the patient regarding procedures and warnings.
  • No contact number for aftercare is provided.
  • Shipping from overseas is expected to take three weeks, which could delay the abortion beyond a safe time frame.

Maybe you are unsure about how to proceed and have come across our website while searching for more information. Your situation is probably anything but easy, and you may not want anyone to know about the pregnancy. Maybe one of the following scenarios matches your experience:

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Your life is too valuable for a quick fix!

Considering Telehealth Abortion?

The reasons women consider online abortion pill delivery are as unique as their lived experiences. Often, the desire not to travel, the comfort of one's own home, the cost, or the desire to keep the abortion a secret play a role.

Your situation is probably complex. Can you think of anyone to confide in who would support you, no matter how you decide? Keeping it to yourself intensifies your situation as you have to bear the burden on your own.

We would also like to help you lighten your load. Our free digital counseling tools were created with you in mind. We want you to be able to make a decision, free from outside pressures, according to your values and desires. Why not give them a try?

⛑  First Aid Test

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Authors & Sources

Author

Kerstin Dörbecker, Linguist (English/German)

Sources
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