With growing abortion restrictions in the US, medication abortion via telemedicine
may become an important way to access services. However, 19 states ban telemedicine
for abortion. Little is known about interest among young people who comprise the largest
share of abortion patients.
We used supplementary data, collected November 2021–May 2022, in a randomized trial
of community college students at 29 sites, aged 18–28, who were assigned female at
birth, and were sexually active with a male partner (n=1,210). Online surveys contained
a brief explanation of medication abortion via telemedicine and assessed interest
level. We used mixed effects logistic regression with random effects for site to estimate
interest in medication abortion via telemedicine.
Almost two-thirds of participants (64%) reported that they would be interested in
medication abortion through telemedicine if they wanted an abortion. Multivariable
results showed that interest levels in Texas were significantly higher than in California
(adjusted OR (aOR), 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0–2.1), as well as among young people identifying
as queer (aOR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.4–1.7). Interest in telemedicine for medication abortion
did not vary by measures of socio-economic adversity, including food or housing insecurity,
lack of insurance, or by race/ethnicity or language barriers.
Results showed that in the wake of Texas Senate Bill 8, interest in telemedicine for
medication abortion was widespread among students, and particularly high in Texas,
as well as among queer students, who may face greater barriers to care. These findings
highlight the importance of continued advocacy for access to telemedicine for medication
abortion in all states including where restrictions exist.