Addressing the urgent global need for later abortion care during COVID-19 and beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed global restrictions on travel, physical distancing, stay-at-home orders, and additional strains have been placed on health care services. The pandemic has also created additional barriers for those seeking abortion services, particularly in low-resource and legally restricted areas. These impacts have been especially felt by those needing late abortions (over 12 weeks), as access is particularly crucial, and safety is paramount.

Abortion access services, Women on Web and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have both implemented innovative models of providing outpatient care that address challenges felt by those seeking early abortion care. This same level of innovation has been shown to require an expansion to include later-term abortions, particular during the pandemic, as healthcare services are under additional duress already.

Telemedicine has proven to be a safe and effective method for late abortion and needs to be incorporated into health policies, both during and after the pandemic. As greater care is required with higher gestational age, advocacy around expansion of care options to include higher gestational ages and access to lower-level facilities is needed.  

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