With Abortion Rights In Balance, Health Groups In Rural States Take Stand For Access

Maine set to become third state in the country to offer telemedicine abortion, expanding access from three clinics to 19


Published:

Maine is now the third state, along with Iowa and Minnesota, to offer telemedicine abortion services. (Photo: AP)

As the U.S. Supreme Court readies this week to hear its first major abortion case in almost a decade, and clinics across the country are being forced to shutter at a record pace, healthcare groups in rural states are doubling down on reproductive rights and abortion access.

Maine is set to become the third state in the country to offer abortion access through telemedicine technology, Maine Family Planning announced on Monday, joining Iowa and Minnesota as the only states where such services are available. Telemedicine enables people in early-stage pregnancy to obtain a pill-induced abortion while consulting a physician through video chat.

In Maine, that means patients who would have otherwise had to drive long distances, miss work, seek out childcare, or face other barriers to abortion access will now be able to receive those services at one of 17 Maine Family Planning centers. That expands the number of stand-alone abortion clinics in Maine from three to 19, a six-fold increase, the organization said.

Despite having the approval of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), telemedicine abortion is effectively banned in 18 states through legislation that requires physicians to be present during the procedure, which consists of taking two pills.

Maine Family Planning communications director Jennifer Thibodeau told Common Dreams that the health group is hoping the expansion of these services will reduce stigma around telemedicine abortion. “We would love to see more organizations using this technology,” she said. “The more we talk about it the more people will understand how it works.”

As RH Reality Check points out, Maine “has one of the country’s highest proportions of residents classified as rural, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Maine’s DHHS notes that the state’s rural communities tend to have higher poverty rates and lower incomes, making a strong case for remote medical services for those who may not otherwise have the means to access care.”

The grassroots expansion of abortion access is particularly important as abortion providers in largely-rural states face an increasing political and legislative onslaught.

In Texas, legal restrictions have closed dozens of clinics, while the state’s crackdown on funding for Planned Parenthood has led to a drop by more than 30 percent in provisions of the most effective methods of birth control, and a jump by 27 percent in Medicaid-paid births, according to a recent study. The case before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, challenges a bill that could close nearly all of the abortion clinics still standing in the state.

Leah Coplon, director of abortion services at Maine Family Planning, said Monday, “As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on a law that shuttered most of the abortion clinics in Texas, the ability to expand access to abortion becomes even more meaningful.”

In 2015, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of telemedicine abortion providers, rejecting a state rule requiring doctors to see patients in person, which the justices said created an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions from Iowa’s three Planned Parenthood clinics.

With Whole Women’s Health on the horizon, Thibodeau said, it is important to see a state like Iowa “upholding safe, legal methods of providing care.”

“The common denominator is that advocates for reproductive rights need to continue to focus on methods that are safe and effective,” she said. “This whole attempt to close down clinics in Texas really is not based in women’s health and safety. What we’re doing here in Maine...really is based in good medicine, best practices, and the interest in the health and safety of our patients, and that’s one thing we have in common.”

Nadia Prupis is a Common Dreams staff writer.

See also:
It’s Her Choice
Who Owns Your Womb? Women Can Get Murder Charge for Refusing C-Sections

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

July 16, 2018

Artists, philosophers, lovers and rambunctious pets feel passionate this morning. The Virgo Moon and Venus are making nice with Jupiter. The effusive alignment builds confidence. It ably supports business meetings and also elicits outpourings of love and…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

July 2018

Join us for a monthly gathering of like-hearted people to give and receive angelic energy healing. This session is a combination of group meditation and discussion, along with working in pairs...

Cost: Scale $5-$20 ($10 suggested)

Where:
Pathway Of Joy
884 Broadway, Suite 12
Upstairs in the Spiritual Renaissance Center building
South Portland, ME  04106
View map »


Sponsor: Pathway Of Joy
Telephone: 207-329-7192
Contact Name: Linda Huitt
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This special 2-part evening offering. Earn your Integrated Energy Therapy® certification in two evenings, while leaving your summer days and weekends open to enjoy the season. Part 1 is...

Cost: $195

Where:
Pathway Of Joy
884 Broadway, Suite 12
South Portland, ME  04106
View map »


Sponsor: Pathway Of Joy
Telephone: 207-329-7192
Contact Name: Linda Huitt
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

What better way to end a busy day than with a little bliss. We'll support your body right where it is today and help you to open your spine to find more movement and flexibility. Begin and end...

Cost: $18

Where:
Body Love Wellness Center
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Sponsor: Bliss Through Yoga
Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Relax and restore this summer with free outdoor yoga classes on historic Rogers Field! We’re packing the lawn with yogis of all levels for yoga led by experienced practitioners from Dragonfly...

Cost: Free

Where:
Rogers Field
Devens, MA


Sponsor: Dragonfly Wellness Center
Telephone: 978-487-7181
Contact Name: Anne Ferguson
Website »

More information

If you are worried about getting Parkinson’s or have beginning symptoms, check out a free intro on how to rewire your brain from the inside. First and third Wednesdays of the month,...

Where:
, MA


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Please note this event is held at an off-site location at the Double Tree Hilton in Danvers, MA There will be a book signing following the mediumship demonstration, and as part of your ticket...

Cost: $45

Where:
Double Tree Hotel
50 Ferncroft Road
Danvers, MA  01923
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

July 20 - 22 The Chinese internal martial arts derive their extraordinary power from the conscious control of one’s subjective state-of-being and the use of jin (internal power)....

Cost: Please see our website

Where:
Eastover Estate & Retreat Center
430 East St.
Lenox, MA  01240
View map »


Telephone: 866-264-5139
Contact Name: Yingxing Wang
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The mission of the 4th Annual Compassionfest is to unite like-minded people that believe in the values of being just, kindness, equality and compassion. We’ll gather for delicious vegan food...

Cost: Free

Where:
Whitneyville Cultural Commons
1253 Whitney Ave
Hamden, CT  06517
View map »


Sponsor: In Defense of Animals
Website »

More information

Saturday, July 21, 10:00am – 4:00pm & Sunday, July 22, 10am – 4:00pm With Patty Collinsworth Get the beginner certification before Linda Howe comes in person to teach a new...

Cost: $170

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Saturday, July 21, 10:00am – 5:30pm & Sunday, July 22, 10am – 3:30pm Instructor:  Peyton Pugmire What brings you joy and a sense of purpose?  These are your soul...

Cost: $160

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 617-817-4547
Website »

More information

July 21 - 22 NEMHoFest, is New England’s premiere metaphysical festival. This year’s line-up includes world renowned guest speakers and vendors from across the...

Where:
Augusta Civic Center
Augusta, ME


Website »

More information

The GFAF Expos are the greatest events on earth for those living a gluten-free or allergen-friendly lifestyle. Sample hundreds of products, meet with local and national brands, receive coupons and...

Where:
DCU Center
50 Foster Street
Worcester, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags