The past few years have been impacting many of us in different ways, but it’s probably safe to say, times are changing and people are doing their best to adapt to the new “virtual” norm. Whether it’s sending a child to school or meeting with a healthcare provider, people are figuring out how to continue their routines and live their lives over video chat. And if you’re like most people, you might not know what to expect from a telehealth appointment — let alone one for abortion care. So we thought it would help to explain exactly what you can expect when choosing carafem for an at home abortion.
Rest assured, you’ll have the same quality of care and take the same medication you’d receive at an in-person appointment — the only difference is that you’ll meet with your provider by smartphone, tablet, or computer. BTW, this is a great option if you are a busy parent, live far away from a clinic, or if you just prefer to stay home. If you’d prefer to not meet with a provider, immediate evaluation might be a good option for you. Read on to learn more.
Step 1: Take a pregnancy test
You know your body better than anyone, so when you first experience pregnancy symptoms, it’s a really good idea to confirm if you are pregnant by taking an at home pregnancy test. The sooner you know, the more options you have, and more time to plan for logistics like taking time off of work, finding child care if you’re a parent, etc.
Most over-the-counter pregnancy tests work best if you use them first thing in the morning, which is when your urine is most concentrated. The tests are looking for the presence of hCG, a hormone produced during the onset of pregnancy. For the best results, we recommend waiting 7 days after your missed period.
Don’t forget: home pregnancy tests may not work if they are expired, or if you don’t follow the instructions. Before you take your test, check the expiration date and make sure you understand and follow the instructions. Learn more about when to take a pregnancy test here.
Step 2: Decide if Medically Supported At Home Abortion Pills are right for you
If you are like many people, you may not know about your options for abortion care until you need it. In the first 11 weeks of pregnancy, you have options when it comes to abortion care, and you can decide what type of care is best for you: an in-office procedure or the abortion pill. If you are further than 11 weeks, and/or if you want to go to a health center and leave the office no longer pregnant, the in-office procedure could be right for you. The procedure, (sometimes called ” MVA,” “aspiration abortion,” or “surgical abortion”) is a safe and simple method of ending a pregnancy in our office with a gentle and quiet hand-held suction device. It has an all-inclusive cost of $550 and may be covered by insurance or Medicaid, depending on where you live and your policy.
The abortion pill has been growing in popularity in recent times, with over 50% of pregnant people who choose abortion in the United States, choosing the abortion pill, according to the Guttmacher Institute’s 2020 data. The abortion pill, also known as medication abortion, is a series of pills that cause cramping and bleeding from the vagina, resulting in the pregnancy leaving the body, similar to a miscarriage. It is incredibly safe and effective and has been used by trusted medical providers in the US for over 20 years. Many people decide this is right for them because they prefer the ability to take the pills and end their pregnancy in the privacy of their homes.
Options that fit you: If you decide this is your method of choice, you can choose a video visit with a provider, an immediate evaluation, or you can visit a carafem health center in person.
Costs: The abortion pill costs between $175-475, depending on where you live, what regimen you select, and if you choose online care or in-office care. Abortion pill visits in the health center may be covered by insurance or Medicaid. Financial assistance may be available to those who qualify. You can discuss your eligibility during your video visit.
Eligibility: Because laws around abortion vary by state, carafem is able to provide at home abortion pills to people with a mailing address in the following states: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. For people living in states with limited abortion providers, finding a timely appointment that’s convenient and discreet can be challenging. That’s where carafem comes in. If you live outside of a state where we offer services, you may still be eligible for an Abortion Care Video Visit.
Iowa residents: Please obtain a dating ultrasound in your community. Here is a map of verified ultrasound providers.
Step 3: Make your appointment or choose an immediate evaluation
Ready to make an appointment? Great! You can schedule an appointment at one of our locations, or explore our options for online care. There are two options for online care; a video visit or immediate evaluation.
Step 4: Check your email
Before your appointment, you will receive an email with instructions on how to join the video call or information on your next steps. Be sure to provide an email you can access and a phone number we can contact you at as a back-up when you schedule your appointment.
Step 5: Chat with a kind, compassionate, non-judgemental provider over text or video
First, get comfortable and don’t think twice about being on video or texting about your care. We’re here for you no matter what so don’t worry about spell-checks, messy hair, or what you are wearing. Don’t even change out of your pajamas if you don’t feel like it!
At the time of your appointment, click the link from the email we sent to join the secure video call. Your abortion care video visit will be on a secure, HIPAA-compliant video chat system that was designed for telehealth care, and can be accessed through a smartphone, tablet, or computer. You will first meet with a carafem care coordinator who will help guide you through the abortion process. They will review your options and ensure you get all your questions answered. Our care coordinators are experts in providing easy-to-understand information and options, so you will understand what to expect each step of the way. You will also electronically sign some consent forms and pay for your care during the video visit.
At this point, your clinician will join your video visit. They will ask you about your medical history, discuss your options for the medical regimen, explain how to use the medications of your choice, and review all of the risks and benefits of your chosen care plan. You’ll be able to ask any questions and even be prescribed a birth control method of your choice if you’re interested. At the end of your visit, if you qualify for care, your clinician will electronically order your medications to be sent to you.
There are no visual examinations and a referral for a pelvic exam or ultrasound is usually not medically necessary, so rest assured you don’t need to get in an uncomfortable gown or remove any clothing during an abortion care video visit. It’s simply a discussion about your medical history, confirming your pregnancy, and deciding on a plan of action for your care.
If you’d prefer to access care without scheduling an appointment and you live in Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Maine, or Maryland, you can find out immediately if you are eligible for abortion pills by mail and get medication mailed to you. The process will take about 15 minutes, is available 24/7, and costs $199. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify.
After you receive the confirmation email and sign your consent forms, your medical provider will review your history within 1-2 business days and, if you are medically eligible, approve your prescription. Your abortion pills will arrive in 1-4 days in a discreet, plain package along with complete instructions on how to use them. Your carafem medical team will be available to you 24×7 for questions along this journey so you can feel confident when using these medications at home.
Step 6: Abortion pills arrive in a discreet package within 1 – 4 days
Once prescribed, we will ship the abortion pills directly to the address you provided in discreet packaging. Just like when you buy things online from other places, you will receive tracking information when the medication ships so you’ll know exactly what day your package will arrive. And because we believe in providing compassionate, convenient abortion care, we include some comfort items, like a heating pad and tea, in your package along with the care instructions and medications. Our standard shipping (included in your cost) takes approximately 3-5 days. If you’d like to get the medications sooner, you can upgrade your shipping to 1-2 days for $25. If you live near one of our health centers, you can also choose to pick up your medication in person.
Step 7: Take medications according to your plan and follow up with Cara, your virtual assistant
If you met with a provider, you should follow the plan on how and when to take your medications. Our virtual assistant (Cara) will also accompany you by text message throughout the process — from shipping notifications to using your medications to your final confirmation of a negative pregnancy test and everything in between. Since Cara is a private, interactive messaging platform, you can ask any questions, no matter how sensitive. Rest assured, if you want to talk to us, we will be there for you.
If you’re curious about what to expect when taking the abortion pill — don’t worry, we got you. You can find a video and detailed instructions for taking the abortion pills at home here. Learn what to expect after taking the abortion pill here.
A few days after your abortion, Cara will contact you for a follow-up call to see how the abortion pills worked for you. Self-care is important, especially after an abortion — so we put together some tips for how to care for yourself, a close friend, or a partner after an abortion. An abortion with medication is very safe, and effective, and rarely has complications. To be sure the abortion is complete, your care coordinator will ask you to take a urine-based pregnancy test about 4-5 weeks after you take the abortion pill to confirm your abortion is complete.