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Abortion access is being threatened across the country: Texas has come close to banning abortion as the Supreme Court prepares to take up a challenge to Roe v. Wade. While this has put much of the medical community on the defensive, many are looking ahead toward expanding access to medication abortion and having clinicians “step aside.”

Most pregnant people can assess how far along they are and, if appropriate, carry out a medical abortion safely and effectively on their own. If self-directed abortion care becomes the norm, physicians will need to decide how they can best provide support from the sidelines.

“We need to be trusting our patients to make reasonable choices in their lives,” said Jennifer Karlin, a family physician and assistant professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, Davis, who has surveyed clinicians who made significant changes to their medication abortion protocols in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.


This conversation is based on a First Opinion by Karlin titled, “For abortion care, physicians may need to step aside to support patients.

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