Abortion pills, also known as medical abortion, have become an increasingly popular option for women seeking to end a pregnancy. The use of these pills has been on the rise, especially with the availability of telehealth services that allow for remote and asynchronous care. After all, they can be a non-invasive, more convenient, and often cheaper option compared to surgical abortion. 

In addition, the FDA has lifted restrictions to allow abortion pills to be sold at retail pharmacies and delivered through the mail with a valid prescription. Whether you’re considering an abortion or looking for more information, keep reading to learn about abortion pills and telehealth medical abortion options.

Expanding Access to Abortion with Telehealth

Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth medical abortion has grown in popularity as a safe and convenient alternative to in-person abortion care. It allows women to receive abortion care from the comfort of their own homes, without the need for in-person visits to a clinic or hospital. They can then receive the pills (mifepristone and misoprostol) through the mail or at a local pharmacy

One study published in JAMA Network Open evaluated the safety and efficacy of remote abortion care. The data from the study was collected from a virtual clinic called Choix based in California. Around 95% of the participants had a successful abortion without any further intervention. 5% of the patients needed additional medical help to complete the abortion and none of the patients reported any serious health problems.

Another study published in Obstetrics and Gynaecology compared two different models for medical abortions. One model was a mix of in-person and telemedicine, and the other was fully in-person. The success rate, serious health problems, and cases of ectopic pregnancy were not different between the two models. In addition, patients who used telemedicine were very satisfied with it and 80% said they would prefer to use it in the future.

No Need for an Ultrasound for Medication Abortion

Ultrasound tests have traditionally been a way for healthcare providers to determine how far along a pregnancy is. They’ve also been used to confirm whether there is an ectopic pregnancy at hand, which can be serious and require medical treatment. However, there are no guidelines that suggest an ultrasound is required before a medical abortion.

A study performed at the University of California, San Francisco found that a history-based screening approach to medication abortion care is safe and effective. In other words, healthcare providers don’t need to perform an ultrasound or pelvic exam before a medication abortion. Instead, healthcare providers can assess a patient’s medical history, such as an estimate of their last period, to determine whether they’re eligible for an abortion. 

The study evaluated almost 3,800 patients and found that 95% of medication abortions with a history-based screening process were effective. Researchers concluded that routine ultrasounds are not medically necessary. History-based screening therefore can lower costs, increase access to more patients, and allow patients to avoid harassment at clinics, while being as safe and effective as in-person care.

Making an Informed Decision: Understanding Medical Abortion Options

Making an informed decision about whether medical abortion is the right option for you requires understanding what it is, how it works, and what to expect. Medical abortion is a non-surgical method of ending a pregnancy that involves taking medication to end the pregnancy. This method is typically only available for early pregnancy. 

It is important to understand the benefits and risks of medical abortion before making a decision. On the positive side, medical abortion can be less invasive than surgical abortion, and can often be done in the comfort of one’s own home. Additionally, it can be a more convenient option for women who live far from a clinic or who have difficulty taking time off from work or other responsibilities. 

However, medical abortion also has its own set of risks and side effects. Some common side effects include cramping, nausea, vomiting, and heavy bleeding. In rare cases, medical abortion can cause serious complications, such as infection or damage to the uterus.

Working With a Qualified Healthcare Provider

It is crucial to inform your healthcare provider, whether it be online or in-person, about any medical conditions you may have and any medications you are taking. Working with a qualified healthcare provider can help reduce the risk of any potential adverse effects. With expert help, you can reduce the risks associated with using abortion pills and ensure a safe and effective medical abortion.

You can also contact one of our expert healthcare providers for any questions or concerns. You can choose to call or message a healthcare provider for support. After a thorough evaluation, a healthcare provider can help you decide whether a medical abortion is appropriate. 


Tanne, J. H. (2023). Abortion pills now available through US drug stores and by mail, even in states that ban abortion, FDA says. BMJ. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p35

Upadhyay, U. D., Koenig, L. R., & Meckstroth, K. R. (2021). Safety and efficacy of telehealth medication abortions in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic. JAMA Network Open, 4(8). https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.22320

Aiken, A. R. A., Lohr, P. A., Lord, J., Ghosh, N., & Starling, J. (2021). Effectiveness, safety and acceptability of no‐test medical abortion (termination of pregnancy) provided via telemedicine: A national cohort study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 128(9), 1464–1474. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.16668

Upadhyay, U. D., Raymond, E. G., Koenig, L. R., Coplon, L., Gold, M., Kaneshiro, B., Boraas, C. M., & Winikoff, B. (2022). Outcomes and safety of history-based screening for medication abortion. JAMA Internal Medicine, 182(5), 482. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.0217