The future of abortion is now: Mifepristone by mail and in-clinic abortion access in the United States

Contraception. 2021 Jul;104(1):38-42. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2021.03.033. Epub 2021 Apr 17.


The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted health care delivery in all aspects of medicine, including abortion care. For 6 months, the mifepristone Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) was temporarily blocked, allowing for the remote provision of medication abortion. Remote medication abortion may become a dominant model of care in the future, either through the formal health system or through self-sourced, self-managed abortion. Clinics already face pressure from falling abortion rates and excessive regulation and with a transition to remote abortion, may not be able to sustain services. Although remote medication abortion improves access for many, those who need or want in-clinic care such as people later in pregnancy, people for whom abortion at home is not safe or feasible, or people who are not eligible for medication abortion, will need comprehensive support to access safe and appropriate care. To understand how we may adapt to remote abortion without leaving people behind, we can look outside of the U.S. to become familiar with emerging and alternative models of abortion care.

Keywords: Abortion; Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Mifepristone; Misoprostol; Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS); Self-managed abortion.

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents, Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Abortion, Induced / methods*
  • Abortion, Induced / trends
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • COVID-19
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Mifepristone / therapeutic use*
  • Postal Service*
  • Risk Evaluation and Mitigation
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Telemedicine / methods*
  • Telemedicine / trends
  • United States


  • Abortifacient Agents, Steroidal
  • Mifepristone