July 20, 2020

Abortion, Health Care

At a time when abortion care remains out of reach for too many people, Maine Family Planning remains dedicated to expanding access in our communities. A new report from Ibis Reproductive Health finds great support for MFP’s telehealth medication abortion services among patients and providers alike.

The analysis, based on in-depth interviews with patients and providers in 2017-2018, shows high levels of satisfaction among both in-person and telehealth abortion patients. Fully ninety-eight percent of respondents said they were either very or somewhat satisfied with the services they received from MFP.

“Everyone I interacted with, from the call center to the clinic staff, were professional, informative, and respectful. I felt more comfortable throughout the process because of this, and it made a very difficult thing easier to deal with. I received all the information I needed and feel grateful to the staff for their care. Everyone was nonjudgmental which was very important.”

Telehealth abortion patient

MFP offers several types of abortion care. We perform aspiration, or “in-clinic” abortions (where the contents of your uterus are emptied via suction) at our Center for Reproductive Health in Augusta.

MFP also offers medication abortion, or abortion pills. Medical abortion involves taking two different drugs, Mifepristone and Misoprostol. Our Advanced Practice Clinicians (APCs) can prescribe these medications at an in-person appointment at one of our 18 clinics or via telehealth. In some cases, we can mail the abortion pills right to your house. You can have an abortion safely, at home, with support from expert providers.

Both patients and providers told the Ibis researchers that telehealth improved abortion access. No longer do people have to travel far distances to access a common form of health care. Furthermore, the vast majority of folks (85 percent) reported no preference for the provider’s location.

“I didn’t care where she was, but I think that having a conversation with someone in person, versus over like video chat isn’t very different… I think in this day and age when people have video conversations often it doesn’t make much of a difference.”

Telehealth abortion patient

Committed to Compassion

More than mode of communication, our patients cared about how they were treated by MFP providers. Nearly all (96 percent) said they had a positive experience with our staff — from the ease and speed of making appointments, to the compassionate and nonjudgmental attitude of MFP clinicians.

“They were very informative and kind. I felt like someone important and like they’d give me all the time in the world. No judgment, just care.”

In-person abortion patient

“This woman was so kind and gentle natured…. Just by being so nonjudgmental it was like having the perfect friend or mom to talk about my situation because there was zero judgment on her part and 100% support.”

Telehealth abortion patient

Notably, the Ibis research was conducted even before Maine law changed in 2019 to allow APCs to provide abortions. Based on patient feedback since then, we know access has only improved. Meanwhile, MFP’s commitment to high-quality, innovative abortion care has stayed firm.

The Ibis report concludes by urging: “MFP should continue to offer and explore opportunities to expand and improve telehealth services.”

That we will.

In fact, based on a recent ruling that expands access to safe and legal medication abortion by mail during the Covid-19 pandemic, MFP anticipates being even better able to meet patient needs in the near future.

We are gratified by Ibis’ findings — this is why we do what we do.

“I can’t thank the staff at the MFP Augusta office enough for their kind, compassionate, and thorough care.”

In-person patient