Medical abortion and other reproductive care are still legal in Florida. Here’s how to get there
Planned Parenthood doctors want Floridians to know that they still provide reproductive health care in the state, including abortions.
In the days following the cancellation of Roe v. Wade by the United States Supreme Court, appeals to Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida have “skyrocketed”, according to Chief Medical Officer Robyn Schickler.
“Patients are calling, if they have appointments, to see if they still have appointments, to find out if we’re going to close,” Dr. Schickler said. “And then even patients who were worried about birth control visits like, ‘What does that mean about birth control, can I still get my birth control?’ So much confusion and hectic chaos.
CONTINUE READING: Find resources below to access reproductive health care
Schickler emphasized that patients can still come to Planned Parenthood to access birth control and safe abortions. The group is one of several organizations fighting to prevent a state law from taking effect Friday that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
But even if a judge allows it to go ahead, Schickler said it won’t affect access for people in early pregnancy.
One option for these people is medical abortion. This procedure involves taking pills to safely terminate a pregnancy for the first 10 weeks (up to 11 weeks). Florida allows them, but creates barriers to their access.
Dr. Schickler details the basics of what patients can expect:
What is medical abortion?
Medical abortion consists of two distinct stages. One of the pills you must take in front of a doctor in the state of Florida, this pill is called mifepristone. This acts to block the hormone that maintains pregnancy.
And then, six to 48 hours after taking this pill, the patient takes another set of pills called misoprostol. This actually causes the uterus or uterus to contract and expel any pregnancy tissue, which completes the abortion.
What should a pregnant person interested in getting the procedure in Florida do?
They can call Planned Parenthood or go online and make an appointment. The appointment that will be made initially is a consultation appointment only. Currently in Florida, we have a mandatory 24-hour delay, which means you must speak to a doctor at least 24 hours before your abortion.
So the first visit would be a counseling appointment, you come in for your ultrasound, educate yourself about the medication, talk to a doctor, sign consents, and then we get you ready for your second visit when you actually take that mifepristone, or that first pill.
Then patients can take the second drug themselves at home. What happens after that?
Every time someone has an abortion with medication, there is some sort of follow-up. We offer ultrasound follow-up in 1-2 weeks where we look and make sure the abortion is complete and the uterus is empty.
The other, also very good way to follow up, is simply to perform a high sensitivity pregnancy test. The patient takes it home and takes it four weeks after the abortion. We arrange a call with the patient a week after he’s taken the pill with us just to make sure he’s done well and to identify any issues if we need to bring him back and then call him back at that four weeks. mark to check if the pregnancy test is negative.
In some other states, patients can obtain the drugs through telehealth visits with doctors and receive the pills in the mail. Why doesn’t Florida allow it?
It’s definitely easier and very safe and effective to take. [mifepristone] at home. But it’s Florida state law that a patient takes it in front, like face-to-face, with a doctor, and so we’re not able to provide mifepristone via telehealth.
What resources are available for people who need help with transportation or other barriers to access?
You can certainly contact us [Planned Parenthood] and we can help direct you to the places you need to go. Definitely local funds for abortion. I’m based in Tampa, and the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund is incredibly helpful. But you can also give us a call and we’ll help direct you.
Visit Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida’s website for services and appointments or contact the regional call center: 941-567-3800.
Contact the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund drop-in line for financial or logistical assistance: 727-314-3956 or find out more on its website.
You can find other abortion funds across the country here.
Several organizations including Plan C, reprocare and HelpAccessamong other things, supporting people self-managed abortions. This involves pregnant women obtaining and using the pills without a doctor’s supervision. Experts say it removes barriers to access for people who cannot afford a clinic and can be safe and effective. But doing so can carry legal risks in Florida and other states with abortion restrictions.