A new nationwide tele-abortion service has been launched in response to a gap in access to professional abortion services across Australia.
Abortion Online is an initiative of Dr Emma Boulton, founder and Director of Clinic 66, a private ‘one-stop’ sexual and reproductive health clinic in Sydney.
The service can be accessed anywhere in Australia except for South Australia where the service is illegal.
Dr Boulton says decriminalising abortion in NSW is great news, but it will probably be some time before the benefits of the change are seen, particularly for women living in rural and regional areas across NSW and nationally.
She adds that medical abortion via telehealth is likely to become the preferred option for women as it gives them autonomy over their bodies and eliminates the need to visit healthcare providers.
Home-based medical abortion when the foetus is under nine weeks old is intended to simplify the medical abortion regimen while providing best medical practice, says Dr Boulton.
Self-administration is common in many countries around the world, and medical abortion has been used by millions of women since it was approved in 1988.
There is overwhelming evidence to support its efficacy, though in about five per cent of cases it may not be straightforward.
Clients of the service meet with highly skilled and experienced abortion care providers remotely by phone and/or video consultation to assist with completion of the abortion in the privacy of their own homes.
The service is supported by an emergency helpline run by not-for-profit pharmaceutical company MS Health, which distributes the medication.
No Medicare or health insurance rebate applies with the service. Consultations cost $395 in two instalments, which cover the entire medical abortion process except for blood tests, ultrasound or medication.