New Study Doesn’t Support Safety of Webcam Abortions

Reproductive Research Audit’s Jacqueline Harvey, Ph.D., reports on a flawed study claiming that webcam abortions may be safer for women:

The American Journal of Public Health has preliminarily released an electronic version of Changes in Service Delivery Patterns After Introduction of Telemedicine Provision of Medical Abortion in Iowa, a study which examines the effect that offering webcam-advised prescriptions for abortion pills has had on both the number of abortions and the demographics of women seeking abortions in Iowa. Daniel Grossman leads four other authors in this study, which employs a questionable unit of analysis and unsupported conclusions — namely that “Recent legislation to ban telemedicine abortion may adversely affect public health by preventing women from accessing abortion earlier in pregnancy, when it is safer.”

Even if the authors could support the claim that tele-medicine (or “tele-med”) contributed to the modest reduction in late-term abortions, they still fail to note medical abortions have greater rates of complications than surgical abortions. The researchers only examine geography and service delivery, not safety or complication. However, by taking the number of abortions by type provided in the Grossman et. al study and then considering the percentage of women facing complications from each abortion method (also provided by Grossman in this and previous articles), we were able to conclude the following:

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