There is legal, medical, and financial support available to those who want to self manage their abortion at home. But Coplon cautions that some people, especially those living in states with near-total or outright bans on abortion, will still suffer complications due to legal risks. The very rare complications of medication abortion can become more fraught if people are too scared to access things like antibiotics or IV fluids because of the risk of criminalization.
Health providers also may face steeper legal risks than patients. Currently, abortion providers are prohibited from providing telemedicine across state lines and mailing abortion pills to eligible patients, but certain states like California and Connecticut are moving to pass legislation that could protect providers who offer abortion care out of state.
While there is promise with telehealth, some worry that tele-medicine may undermine already underresourced, overstretched clinic-based care due to their cheaper out-of-pocket costs. In the past decade, over 250 abortion clinics have closed across the U.S. and there are currently six states with one abortion clinic remaining. Clinics are “the backbone” of abortion care, and Coplon stressed that tele-abortion companies should support, not replace them. Many tele-abortion companies, like Abortion on Demand, donate some profits to local abortion clinics in this effort.