Planned Parenthood said Tuesday its telehealth capabilities, including counseling for abortions, would be available in all 50 states by the end of April.
The telehealth services provided by Planned Parenthood via phone and video will vary from one health center to the next, but Planned Parenthood said the services it will provide include birth control, gender-affirming hormone therapy, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and counseling for abortions.
“We know this pandemic has increased barriers to health care for many of the communities we serve — at exactly the time when people need that care most,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood Federation of America acting president and CEO, in a statement. “Through telehealth, Planned Parenthood is providing the high-quality care and information people need to stay safe and healthy, even as our everyday reality is rapidly changing. Challenging times require us to innovate, and expand the tools that connect our expert, compassionate providers with patients who need care.”
In addition to the new coronavirus-responsive telehealth services developed by Planned Parenthood are digital resources with new sexual-health information added to its sexual-health chatbot, “Roo,” and webpages that answer questions such as “Can I still get an abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic?”
On Planned Parenthood’s telehealth website, it instructs prospective consumers about how to obtain abortions via telehealth amid the social distancing guidelines imposed by the coronavirus.
“You may be able to get a medical abortion — the abortion pill — through telehealth,” the Planned Parenthood website advises. “If so, during your telehealth visit, your nurse or doctor will give you all of the information you need to use the abortion pill at home. Then you’ll go to your local health center to pick up the medicines you’ll need. And — depending on the state you live in — you can usually get a medication abortion up to 11 weeks after the first day of your last period.”
Lawsuits regarding abortion access and the classification of abortion providers as essential or nonessential businesses during the coronavirus outbreak have raged nationwide. Planned Parenthood partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights in filing a lawsuit on Tuesday attempting to halt a Tennessee order limiting abortion procedures.