Phoenix Clinic Comes Up With Abortion Care Solution After Arizona Bans | Arizona

A Phoenix abortion clinic has devised a way for patients who can terminate their pregnancy by taking a pill to get the medication quickly without violating a resurrected Arizona law that bans most abortions.

Under the arrangement that began Monday, patients will receive an ultrasound in Arizona, get a prescription through a telehealth appointment with a California doctor, and then have it shipped free of charge to a post office in a California border town for collection.

While it wasn’t as straightforward as it was nearly two weeks ago, before an Arizona judge ruled that a pre-state law criminalizing nearly all abortions could be enforced, the process saves an overnight trip to a major California city with a abortion clinic. And it’s more accessible than the previous solution used by Camelback Family Planning in Phoenix, which required a doctor in Sweden to prescribe the pills and a pharmacy in India to send them to Arizona. That can take up to three weeks.

Ashleigh Feiring, a nurse at the clinic, said the cost of the pills would be covered by the Arizona Abortion Fund, which helps women pay for access to out-of-state abortions. Women can take a pill for an abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy. Pills and surgical abortions were legal for about 24 weeks until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Roe v Wade in June and allowed states to ban all abortions.

The Food and Drug Administration this year permanently removed rules requiring a face-to-face consultation with a health care provider before women can have a drug abortion, allowing women to make a telehealth appointment and get the pills in the mail.

But Arizona has a law that prohibits shipping the pills, as well as the law that prohibits all abortions unless the mother’s life is in danger. That has led clinics to make arrangements with clinics in New Mexico and California to treat patients who wanted access to the abortion pill, as well as those who were on the road for more than 12 weeks and needed a surgical abortion.

At Camelback Family Planning, Feiring said they weren’t concerned about doing ultrasounds and post-abortion care for those taking the Pill to have an abortion. “We’re not providing abortions,” Feiring said. “We’re just giving people information.”

Those who have the pills shipped to one of the three California towns along the Arizona border pick them up at the post office and take the first medication there before going home and taking the second. They were due to return to the clinic in about a week for a follow-up examination.

Cathi Herrod, president of the social-conservative Center for Arizona Policy and the architect of many of Arizona’s strict abortion restrictions, rejected the proposal.

Despite the FDA approval, Herrod argues that abortion pills have significant impacts and that women need a personal examination and follow-up care.

“It doesn’t surprise me that the abortion industry would be more concerned with their profits and with the sale of pills than with still taking care of women,” she said.

Planned Parenthood Arizona said it has a team of patient navigators to educate them about their options, including having and keeping the baby, putting it up for adoption or leaving the state for an abortion, according to Brittany Fonteno, the president and CEO.

If the patient decides to have an abortion but cannot afford the new costs, Planned Parenthood will work with the patient to arrange care. Help with the additional costs comes from either Planned Parenthood funds or money from the two abortion funds in the state. This will pay for travel, accommodation, childcare and other needs.

“It’s doing everything it can to break down those barriers to care,” Fonteno said. Planned Parenthood was the largest provider in the state before the ban.

Arizona is one of several Republican-led states that have banned the delivery of abortion pills through the mail. It is one of 14 states with near-total abortion bans that the Supreme Court allowed when it overturned Roe.

About 13,000 women in Arizona had an abortion last year, about half on a pill. Most occurred before the 15th week of pregnancy.

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