Atay H, Perivier H, Gemzell-Danielsson K, Guilleminot J, Hassoun D, Hottois J, Gomperts R, Levrier E
BMJ Sex Reprod Health - (-) - [2021-07-28; online 2021-07-28]
In an attempt to understand the demand and main drivers of telemedicine abortion, we analysed the requests that Women on Web (WoW), an online telemedicine abortion service operating worldwide, received from France throughout 2020. We conducted a parallel, convergent, mixed-methods study among 809 consultations received from France at WoW between 1 January and 31 December 2020. We performed a cross-sectional study of data obtained from the WoW consultation survey and a manifest content analysis of anonymised email correspondence of 140 women consulting with the WoW helpdesk from France. We found that women encounter macro-level, individual-level and provider-level constraints while trying to access abortion in France. The preferences and needs over secrecy (n=356, 46.2%), privacy (n=295, 38.3%) and comfort (n=269, 34.9%) are among the most frequent reasons for women from France to choose telemedicine abortion through WoW. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be an important driver for resorting to telemedicine (n=236, 30.6%). The lockdowns had a significant impact on the number of consultations received at WoW from France, increasing from 60 in March to 128 in April during the first lockdown and from 54 in October to 80 in November during the second lockdown. The demand for at-home medical abortion via teleconsultation increased in France during the lockdowns. However, drivers of telemedicine abortion are multidimensional and go beyond the conditions unique to the pandemic.