National Partnership for Women & Families


From the desk of ... Bryan Howard, Repro Health Watch

Protecting Access to Medication Abortion: A Good Option for Women

By Bryan Howard, President, Planned Parenthood Arizona

Bryan Howard, President, Planned Parenthood ArizonaWomen's health care opponents have targeted medication abortion since it became available in the United States more than a decade-and-a-half ago. As I think about this aggression, at least three tragic results come to mind.

First, these barriers are incredibly mean-spirited because many, many women managing unintended pregnancy truly appreciate medication abortion. They have told me how they feel more in control of their own care, and that medication abortion feels more “organic.”

Second, these barriers endanger public health. Medication abortion puts management of unintended pregnancy within reach of thousands more women, in no small part because it falls precisely within the expertise and scope of practice of nurse practitioners. Here in the American West, our historically more libertarian approach to health care regulation meant that nurse practitioners across Arizona were able to quickly incorporate this care into their practices in communities where abortion had never previously been available. In addition, medication abortion, as compared to surgical abortion, doesn’t require post-surgery recovery rooms, recovery room nursing staff or anesthesia. All of these factors help explain why medication abortion became the preference of half of all women seeking first-trimester abortion care at Planned Parenthood in Arizona.

The third tragic result is the public cynicism that is the unavoidable byproduct of opposition tactics that expose women to harm, advanced in the name of protecting women from harm. It is no wonder that many Americans tune out these debates when too much mainstream media has allowed medication abortion’s opponents to mischaracterize its safety. Here in Arizona, too few reporters have done the legwork to investigate the fallacious basis and dangerous potential impact of opponents’ efforts to force health care professionals to revive 15-year-old medication abortion protocols, ignoring how this health care has improved over the years. These improvements in care have simultaneously improved women’s lives.

Perhaps the first two phenomena — the emotional, psychological and physical approachability of medication abortion, combined with increasing accessibility — can explain the vehemence of the opposition to it among groups that oppose any health care that enables women to exert more control over their lives.

Planned Parenthood Arizona is proud to offer medication abortion. A woman needing to manage an unintended or ill-timed pregnancy has every right to the best, most up-to-date and respectful health care. For many women, that best option is medication abortion.


Submitted by calliopy on December 20, 2014
End government-imposed pregnancy.
Submitted by sandra on September 10, 2014
its a woman's right to choose alone without any one else getting involved.. its our constitutional right
Submitted by Witchy-Pooh on September 10, 2014
Politicians on any level,do NOT belong in WOMEN'S exam rooms! Nor should one have the"right" to INTERFERE in any LEGAL,SAFE,& NECESSARY medical procedures! Seems to me that anti-abortionists care ONLY about preventing abortions & could NOT care less what happens to the child AFTER it's born.
Submitted by geo4rge on September 5, 2014
allow abortions
Submitted by Meg on September 4, 2014
If men would step up and take responsibility for themselves ( help in rearing the child, etc. ) and not physically impose themselves (or rape), this probably wouldn’t be an issue. But as long as there are men that won’t/don’t want to take the responsibility for themselves, or need to have power over a woman against her will, physically as well as emotionally, safe abortion is necessary. Sterilization for men is a better solution altogether. It’s safer, less time needed for recovery and reversible. But don’t expect the type of male I mentioned at the beginning of this comment to be man enough to take that route. Keep abortion safe and legal.
Submitted by Dan on September 4, 2014
Birth control is a personal choice.
Submitted by kanawah on September 3, 2014
If it is not your body, it is none of your business.
Submitted by TeeDee on September 3, 2014
All who want to save fetuses, (life) need to shut up and donate a kidney.(+ life) STEP UP NOW!
Submitted by Long Sam on September 3, 2014
We must be able to make decisions about our body without intrusion by Senators and Delegates into our private life.
Submitted by Not personal property on September 3, 2014
I'm a home health nurse.Older,past reproductive years.Keep abortion,all kinds,legal and safe.And NONE of us are the personal property of someone else's church,or the state!
Submitted by Wordwizard on September 3, 2014
Submitted by k99k on September 3, 2014
Exactly--well said. It's amazing how the men in the government seem to give themselves the right to make these decisions for women and bully women and make such negative comments about women and laugh about it. They are jerks, with absolutely no sense of dignity.
Submitted by Dawn on September 3, 2014
It is a woman's right to choose.
Submitted by Keahi on September 3, 2014
It's her body, it's her decision . . . and it's between her and God! Everyone else including government bug-out.
Submitted by Jo on September 3, 2014
Are we sure this is 2014 and not 1914???
Submitted by Bob on September 3, 2014
Whether one is for or against abortion IT'S A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT! We can argue our positions loudly and clearly, but we should not let the government get involved in this most personal decision a woman may ever make.

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