The New York Times reports this morning on the rise of apps and websites to provide contraception without visiting a doctor.
Of course that has implications for abortion.
The development has potential to be more than just a convenience for women already on birth control. Public health experts hope it will encourage more to start, or restart, using contraception and help reduce the country’s stubbornly high rate of unintended pregnancies, as well as the rate of abortions.
And as apps and websites, rather than legislative proposals or taxpayer-funded programs, the new services have so far sprung up beneath the political radar and grown through word of mouth, with little of the furor that has come to be expected in issues involving reproductive health.
With the publicity, the crowd that wants to control women’s reproductive organs will undoubtedly take to the ramparts. Easy availability of contraception — even though it discourage pregnancies that could end in abortion — is not on their wish list. Certainly not morning-after pills, which are available in some states by these new means.
Arkansas has taken some steps to expand telemedicine. But, among other limits, the Arkansas rules are going to require an initial in-person visit with a doctor before going to future telemedicine consultation.
The article describes ready availability of birth control pills as a welcome benefit for many women. The Arkansas legislature isn’t a good bet for emulating this. Certainly not when they read Planned Parenthood is among those providing a pill service after video visits with a doctor. Medicinal abortions after video consultations have specifically been outlawed here.
Still, I found interesting the vast leaps other states have made in finding new ways to deliver medical services to women and prevent unintended pregnancies.