September 30, 2015 — A new service will make medication abortion available by phone in Australia, The Guardian reports.
Through the service, women can access medication abortion by calling a 1-800 number. The service will coordinate medical testing and have RU 486, which induces abortion, delivered to the patient. The group coordinating the service, the Tabbot Foundation, has established a database of ultrasound services it will use if a physician refers a patient to the service over the phone.
The kit mailed to patients explains the medication it includes, and the information can be given to a physician in the event of complications. In addition, the service will provide women access to counseling before and after the abortion. A nurse will call the patient the day after the procedure, and a 24-hour hotline will be available. The fee for the service will be $250 per procedure, which is less than an abortion at a private clinic, where an abortion typically costs $300 to $600, according to the Tabbot Foundation.
The service will not be available in the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory or in South Australia, where it would be illegal, according to The Guardian.
Reproductive Choice Australia Co-President Jenny Ejlak said the service is "providing a similar kind of service if you went to a [general practitioner] or a clinic who were providing [medication abortion]," adding, "You don't need to physically travel, so for women in parts of the country where there are no clinics and no GPs licenced to prescribe this medication we're hopeful [it] will open up access."
She added, "It's very sign[i]ficant (for women), it's a very different approach to what's been available in the past, it will provide access in a lot of areas where there currently is no access" (Jabour, The Guardian, 9/28).