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Virtual ExpressCare will offer online abortion service, expanding access for many

Eliana Hernandez

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced on Oct. 2 that New York City Health & Hospitals will offer its patients access to abortion pill prescriptions through Virtual ExpressCare, a new online scheduling system. While an online service is necessary to expand abortion access, telemedicine might not reduce health inequity.

Adams has continuously voiced his disagreement with the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. This sentiment remained the same in his latest press conference where he vowed to continue protecting the rights of women by continuing to ensure abortion services.

“Access to safe, legal abortion care is the cornerstone of public health, in New York City it will always be. We will not stand idly by as these attacks continue and the far right seeks to strip our citizens of their basic rights,” Adams said.

“Because we know that restricting access to abortion is simply about controlling women’s bodies, their choices and their freedoms, we’re going to stand up and have a united front to push back on that,” he continued.

Patients no longer need to schedule in-person appointments to receive abortion pill prescriptions. Instead, they can contact their preferred clinical service provider or physician online.

Telemedicine aims to offer women a faster path to safe abortion and a different way of receiving abortion services which have been undersupplied across the country.

Hey Jane, an abortion online pill provider published a clinical white paper on telemedicine. They affirmed the online system’s important and helpful role in decreasing healthcare abortion inequity by providing faster services and increasing abortion support.

“Only 14% of OB-GYNs in the U.S. provided abortions and only 3% of PCPs provided abortion services,” the research paper said.

Despite the benefits of online abortion services, unsecure online security and unreliable internet access are causes for concern as they can compromise healthcare cases.

Healthcare was the sixth most attacked industry globally in 2022, according to an IBM security report.  It’s necessary to prioritize online security as these telemedicine services become more popular.

Furthermore, according to IBM’s 2023 data breach report, the healthcare industry leads all other industries with the highest data breach cost at nearly $11 million for the thirteenth year in a row.

More than 1 million New York households lacked a sufficient internet connection in 2019, according to the New York State Comptroller press release.

Additionally, the NYC Council expressed that Hispanic, Black, low-income and senior households were heavily affected by poor and unreliable internet connection.

Although telemedicine will provide services to women from underrepresented and impoverished neighborhoods, questions remain over the security of patient data and the number of women the program can actually reach due to internet disparity.

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