New York has become the first city in the nation to allow virtual abortion access through its public health system, in a historic effort to defend reproductive rights after the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade.
Virtual ExpressCare, an online scheduling tool that will connect New Yorkers seeking abortion care to medical specialists through phone or video contact, was introduced by NYC Health + Hospitals on Monday. The virtual service not only makes it simpler for patients to get reproductive health care, but also non-emergency medical treatments, such as mental health services.
Clinically qualified patients, or those who are up to 10 weeks along in their pregnancy, may send a prescription for abortion medicine to a New York City address. They must also be present in the city when the telehealth call occurs and when the drug is administered.
“Tough decision is made in the comfort of your environment and your home,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a news conference. “This is an important step forward in using technology to deal with a major demand on those who are looking for access. In New York City, we’re never going to stop fighting for a woman’s right to choose the care that she needs and the right for all families who are involved.”
Patients who have insurance will use the service just like they would with any other healthcare professional, and they might have to pay a copay. According to NYC Health + Hospitals, people without health insurance will still get care and will be linked to financial advisers who may assist them in signing up for health insurance or financial aid through NYC Care, Medicaid, and Medicare.
The online service is accessible seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in more than 200 languages by dialing (718) 360-8981.