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Abstract

During the COVID-19 pandemic, even while many traditional restrictions on telemedicine have been relaxed, few states have suspended existing regulatory restrictions on the remote provision of medication abortions (teleabortions). Simultaneously, an overlapping subset of states have cited the public health emergency as a reason to curtail access to surgical abortion. This Comment suggests that under the Fourteenth Amendment and Supreme Court precedent, these two actions, taken together, have the effect of posing an undue burden to abortion access, especially for women from disadvantaged backgrounds. It first describes the politicized regulatory landscape surrounding teleabortions and argues that expanded teleabortion is a safe alternative when states restrict access to surgical abortions due to a public health emergency. In light of the unique burdens of the pandemic, a failure to provide access to either constitutes an undue burden. Last, the results of select states’ experimentation with teleabortion during the pandemic could provide additional data points in favor of integrating teleabortion into reproductive healthcare, even after the COVID-19 pandemic lapses.

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