Parenthood planning to expand app-based health services to 50 states
WASHINGTON – The Planned Parenthood Federation of America will expand a telemedicine program to connect patients to birth control and other services via smartphones, as part of the organization’s efforts to expand the reach of its healthcare offerings. health that Republican policymakers sought to weaken or destroy.
Planned Parenthood’s telemedicine app will be available in all 50 states by next year, up from 27 states and currently Washington, DC, officials said on Wednesday.
The app, called Planned Parenthood Direct, allows patients to use a smartphone to order contraception delivered to their door, get prescription treatment for urinary tract infections, or make an appointment at a Planned Parenthood clinic. The goal is in part to reach younger generations more familiar with mobile technology, as well as women in rural areas who may not have easy access to in-person services, the nonprofit said.
The app expansion represents Planned Parenthood’s latest move to curtail efforts by Republican-led states and the Trump administration to cut funding for the organization.
“As politicians across the country attempt to restrict or block access to essential reproductive and sexual health care, the Planned Parenthood Direct app is just part of the job we are doing to ensure that more people can get the care they need, wherever they are. are, ”said Alexis McGill Johnson, Interim President and CEO of Planned Parenthood.
Last month, the organization chose to forgo approximately $ 60 million in annual federal funds rather than adhere to the Trump administration’s new restrictions on its ability to refer patients for abortion.
States have sought to withdraw Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood, efforts it has fought in the courts. The Trump administration has also attempted to direct funding for teenage pregnancy prevention programs to organizations that promote abstinence, many of which are affiliated with religion. Abortion rights groups, including Planned Parenthood, have challenged measures such as the unconstitutional restrictions on abortion access guaranteed by the 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade.
Some Planned Parenthood affiliates use telemedicine to offer abortion services, in which a provider prescribes mifepristone and misoprostol to end early pregnancies, but they still require in-person office visits.
Planned Parenthood currently offers abortion medication through a telemedicine model in 14 states. About 20 states prohibit providers from using online technology to deliver drugs that induce early abortion.
Corrections and amplifications
Planned Parenthood’s telemedicine app is currently available in 27 states and Washington, DC An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that it is available in 26 states and Washington, DC (September 4, 2019)
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