- Primary care physicians can expand abortion care access by providing medical abortions, argue the authors of this editorial.
Why this matters
- 600,000 pregnancies result in abortion each year in the United States.
- Barriers to abortion are increasing, disproportionately affecting women with fewer resources.
- The US Department of Health and Human Services published a final rule on March 4, to go into effect on May 3, 2019, providing updated regulations for providers participating in the Title X family planning program.
- Title X was designed to ensure comprehensive contraceptive care and preventive health services access, especially for low-income/uninsured people.
- The new rule requires "clear financial and physical separation" between projects and programs funded by Title X and "facilities where abortion is a method of family planning."
- Title X providers cannot "refer for abortion (even when requested by a client)" or require providers offer abortion counseling.
- Title X has never been used to pay for abortion services, but the rule will effectively prevent Title X patients from obtaining abortion-related information, counseling, and services.
- To counteract new barriers, these authors suggest that primary care physicians should be trained to administer medical abortions.
- Funding: None disclosed.