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Study finds telehealth abortion care increases abortion access

With many post-Roe abortion bans in place, clinics in states where abortion is still legal have experienced an influx of out-of-state patients and increased appointment wait times. Considering the ways that abortion bans have historically disproportionately impacted people of color, young people, and people living on low incomes, researchers are studying how telehealth abortion care makes timely abortions possible. 

Key Findings

43% of those seeking abortion care in states where abortion remains legal reported that telehealth made it possible to obtain timely abortion care.
Participants averted a median of 10 miles and 25 minutes of driving by using telehealth abortion care. Patients who used available public transportation would have averted a median of 1 hour and 25 minutes.
The research shows that telehealth is more likely to make timely abortions possible for younger patients, rural patients, patients experiencing food insecurity, and patients who live in abortion deserts (over 100 miles away from the nearest abortion facility).


Telehealth can make abortion accessible for those whom it would be otherwise unavailable, including those who live in abortion deserts. Yet of the states where abortion is not banned, nine of them restrict telehealth abortion care. With telehealth abortion under attack, this research shows that in addition to being safe and effective, telehealth is vital for maintaining and increasing timely access to abortion care. 

The authors write:

“States invested in health equity that want to safeguard access in an increasingly restricted abortion landscape should legalize telehealth abortion. There is a need for federal actions to protect patients who seek and providers who dispense telehealth abortion care across state lines.”

The article, The Role of Telehealth in Promoting Equitable Abortion Access in the United States: Spatial Analysis, is available in JMIR Publications.

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