Objective: To examine provision of direct-to-patient medication abortion during COVID-19 by United States family physicians through a clinician-supported, asynchronous online service, Aid Access.
Study design: We analyzed data from United States residents in New Jersey, New York, and Washington who requested medication abortion from 3 family physicians using the online service from Aid Access between April and November 2020. This study seeks to examine individual characteristics, motivations, and geographic locations of patients receiving abortion care through the Aid Access platform.
Results: Over 7 months, three family physicians using the Aid Access platform provided medication abortion care to 534 residents of New Jersey, New York, and Washington. There were no demographic differences between patients seeking care in these states. A high percentage (85%) were less than 7 weeks gestation at the time of their request for care. The reasons patients chose Aid Access for abortion services were similar regardless of state residence. The majority (71%) of Aid Access users lived in urban areas. Each family physician provided care to most counties in their respective states. Among those who received services in the three states, almost one-quarter (24%) lived in high Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) counties, with roughly one-third living in medium-high SVI counties (33%), followed by another quarter (26%) living in medium-low SVI counties.
Conclusions: Family physicians successfully provided medication abortion in three states using asynchronous online consultations and medications mailed directly to patients.
Implications: Primary care patients are requesting direct-to-patient first trimester abortion services online. By providing abortion care online, a single provider can serve the entire state, thus greatly increasing geographic access to medication abortion.
Keywords: Abortion; COVID-19; Family medicine; Medication abortion; Online abortion; Primary care; Telehealth.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.