The Washington Post

Clinic now mailing abortion medication

- BY LOLA FADULU lola.fadulu@washpost.com

Planned Parenthood of Metropolit­an Washington says it has begun offering mailed abortion medication to residents in the D.C. area, making it the second Planned Parenthood affiliate in the nation to offer those services.

The medication is offered up to eight weeks and six days after the start of a person’s last menstrual period. Patients with addresses in D.C., Maryland and Virginia will have to complete a phone screening and meet with a Planned Parenthood Metropolit­an Washington provider online before receiving the medication in the mail.

The announceme­nt of the new service comes as a Texas law went into effect restrictin­g abortion at six weeks of pregnancy and as a conservati­ve-leaning Supreme Court prepares to possibly revisit the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. But whether abortion is legal is irrelevant if the procedure is not accessible, said Serina Floyd, the medical director at Planned Parenthood of Metropolit­an Washington.

“We had been looking at this as an option because we, like other places, have patients who navigating the logistics of getting in-person care can be very, very challengin­g,” Floyd said. It can be hard for some people to take time off from work or find child care and transporta­tion, she added.

The Planned Parenthood affiliate started mailing the abortion medication on Aug. 12 to those who qualify for a medical abortion. It has made four appointmen­ts available every week to begin this service, and since then, the organizati­on has been fully booked each week. The group has been discussing ways to increase the number of appointmen­ts.

Once patients receive and take their medication­s, Planned Parenthood providers follow up with a phone call and a home pregnancy test, ultrasound or blood test in the office to confirm the procedure worked.

The cost of the medication is $525, and there is financial assistance available through Planned Parenthood, Floyd said. The organizati­on uses its own funding to support patients but also works with outside funders, such as the D.C. Abortion Fund.

Private abortion funders play a huge role in supporting the District’s low-income, uninsured residents because Congress barred the District from using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions in the 1970s.

But local abortion funders have received more calls for donations during the pandemic and have struggled to provide the money. Many women, particular­ly women of color, have either lost jobs or insurance coverage.

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