With the overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier this year, digital health and reproductive care startups bolstered their efforts to make abortion pills and emergency contraceptives more accessible. Now, as state laws shift and abortion bans go into effect across the United States, companies are still trying to find ways to provide care while reimagining what healthcare should include.
Following the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned Roe, many leading organizations focused on reproductive medicine have spoken out against the ruling. “Decisions about healthcare, particularly reproductive healthcare, should be made by patients and physicians, not by interest groups, religious organizations, politicians, pundits, or Supreme Court justices,” said Marcelle Cedars, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Nationally, the situation is proving tricky to navigate as each state can begin implementing individualized abortion laws. By November, 26 states are expected to face near-total abortion bans.
For that reason, TechCrunch checked in with digital health startups to learn how they intend to continue to offer reproductive care despite an increasingly hostile legal environment.
What do demand and restrictions look like?
In wake of the decision, there has been a national surge in demand for emergency contraception like Plan B, also known as the “morning after pill.”
In Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, South Dakota and Tennessee, a pharmacist can refuse to dispense an emergency contraceptive if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. In some states, the medication is also excluded from what is considered mandatory contraceptive coverage, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
But digital health companies, which provide care virtually, claim they are better able to avoid these limitations.