New York City health-care providers will prescribe and deliver medical abortion pills “on demand” after virtual and phone appointments — the first-of-its-kind program in the US, Mayor Eric Adams said Monday.
Hizzoner said the program is in response to the US Supreme Court’s controversial ruling last year outlawing the federal right to an abortion, undoing the 50-year pro-choice Roe v. Wade precedent — although New York still has among the strongest abortion-rights law in the nation.
“Here in New York City, we will not allow the far right to continue its crusade to strip women of their reproductive rights,” Adams said in a release.
“Access to abortion care will now be available through telehealth visits at NYC Health + Hospitals sites from the comfort of one’s home,” he said.
The “Virtual Express Care” program, operated by the city-run Health +Hospitals system, will offer doctors and counselors for video and tel-health appointments for pregnancy and abortion care seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Women up to 10 weeks pregnant are eligible to participate.
ExpressCare is a service that allows patients to receive virtual care from a NYC Health + Hospitals provider using a smartphone, tablet or computer.
“If clinically appropriate and prescribed, patients will be able to receive a medication abortion kit at their New York City address within a few days,” said a City Hall release.
Health + Hospitals serve patients regardless of their ability to pay.
But the new telehealth-video appointments and abortion care will be covered like any other service, so patients with insurance may need to make a co-pay.
If patients cannot afford to pay for the service or are uninsured, Virtual ExpressCare will provide care and connect patients to trained financial counselors who can help them enroll in health insurance coverage or financial assistance through NYC Care, Medicaid, and Medicare, with per-visit fees as low as zero, depending on patients’ income and family size.
“Last year, an activist Supreme Court undermined almost 50 years of settled law by overturning Roe v. Wade, but New Yorkers know that access to safe, legal abortion care is the cornerstone of public health, and we will not stand idly by as these attacks on women continue,” Adams said in announcing the expanded access to abortion.
“In New York City, we will never stop fighting for a woman’s right to choose the care that is right for them, and we will never stop working to make abortion care more accessible to all New Yorkers. Telehealth abortion care allows the people in our lives to make the choices they need privately and safely, so that they can decide what is best for them and their futures. This is about protecting the ability for women to control their own bodies, their choices, and their freedoms,” Hizzoner said.
The mayor noted that the new abortion service builds upon others involving reproductive care after the supreme court decision.
The city previously announced the Abortion Access Hub that confidentially refers callers to abortion care and rolled out no-cost medication abortion at the city’s sexual health clinics.
Mifepristone is used with another pill, misoprostol, to abort a pregnancy within the first 11 weeks of gestation.
Written by: TNT Radio