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How abortion pills by mail will impact Colorado

Last Thursday the FDA declared they will permanently allow patients to receive abortion pills by mail.
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 8:12 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2021 at 8:23 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Last Thursday the FDA declared they will permanently allow patients to receive abortion pills by mail. This will only be true for those in states where abortion is legal, such as here in Colorado.

This move will broaden access to this medication and free up in-person appointments with providers. Planned parenthood says this method has been tested and it’s safe. But some, including The Pregnancy Center in Grand Junction, say it could lead some patients to act too quickly.

“From our perspective it is not a good idea because there’s no medical oversight for it,” said The Pregnancy Center Executive Director Valerie Herrera. “The medical abortion pill is normally used 10 weeks and under but there’s no guarantee that would happen. Even if she orders it before the 10 weeks she could wait longer and the longer you wait, the more repercussions, the more problems that could occur.”

Herrera believes patients should explore all options in order to make an informed decision and not rush into anything. She is worried that the FDA’s decision will lead to some patients rushing into the decision quickly.

“Because sometimes if you are reacting because you are afraid or overwhelmed or lots of other reasons, sometimes you can make a decision that you regret,” said Herrera.

Herrera says people from any state or background can come receive free counseling at The Pregnancy Center in Grand Junction. It is offered to help people explore all their options without judgement. Even if it’s after the person decides to get an abortion.

However, Planned Parenthood says abortion pills by mail has been offered throughout the pandemic as well as in research studies in Colorado. They say it has been studied, researched, tested, and proven to be safe and effective. They also say ultrasounds can be provided in conjunction with telehealth, which will still minimize in-person appointments.

Planned Parenthood wants to be clear that the telehealth and mail aspect will just remove some in person appointments, not necessarily all. Depending on the situation. Because normally a patient must go through multiple in-person appointments to receive the pills.

“So this announcement that we no longer have to have patients come and get medications from our providers and health centers in-person. That we can provide this care by telemedicine which has been proven to be safe and effective, is a great path forward in terms of expanding access,” said Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Vice President and Medical Director Dr. Kristina Tocce.

Planned Parenthood says this will free up appointments for those who require in-person visits. As the need has grown 500% in some areas of Colorado in the last few months as surrounding states enforce stricter access to abortion.

“As we take on more patients from other communities and other states that may not have the same access that we are so privileged to have here in Colorado,” said Tocce. “That’ll help us increase our ability to serve more patients.”

People outside of Colorado seeking this service still would need to travel to Colorado for it. Whether they stay with a friend, family member, or at a hotel.

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