Allison Case, a family medicine physician, spends much of her time working in a hospital where she delivers babies and provides reproductive health care services.
Case lives and works in Indiana, where abortion is now banned with few exceptions. She’s also licensed to practice in New Mexico, a state where abortion remains legal.
Before Indiana’s abortion ban took effect, Case would use her days off to provide reproductive health services, including abortion care, via telemedicine through a clinic that serves patients in New Mexico. Many of them travel from neighboring Texas where abortion is banned.
Some travel solo, she said, others have their children with them.
“Some people are buying hotels, others might have family or friends they can stay with, some are just sleeping in their cars,” Case said. “It’s really awful.”
Since Roe was overturned, clinics that provide abortions have seen an increase in demand. Many clinics rely on help from physicians out of state, like Case, who are able to alleviate some of the pressure and keep wait times down by providing services via telemedicine.
But as more states move to restrict abortion, providers are finding themselves navigating an increasing complicated legal landscape.
Is abortion by telemedicine legal? Depends.
Medication abortions work for most people who are under 11 weeks pregnant, and research suggests medication abortion via telemedicine is safe and effective. Yet many states have enacted legislation to ban or limit access to telehealth abortions.
But it’s not always clear what that means for doctors like Case who are physically located in a state with abortion restrictions, but have a license that enables them to provide care via telehealth to patients in states where it is legal.
Case said she has consulted several lawyers and none of them had a concrete answer for her.