The Tabbot Foundation is the first service in the world to provide medical abortion by telephone consultation alone across an entire nation. Abortion has been revolutionised by drugs which have been available throughout the world for more than a decade but have been restricted for use in Australia until more recently. In July 2013, after years of banning the drug’s importation into Australia by previous governments, Tanya Plibersek, as Minister of Health, approved the listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Plibersek described the provision of the medicine as "a good thing in the situation where women are faced with one of the most difficult decisions that they will ever make.”
The method has been used by millions of women in more than 50 countries who have had access to it for several years. In Australia 2015, more than 23% of abortions were performed medically and this is increasing rapidly now that women are aware of the alternative and preference. Medical abortion is now accounts for 46% in USA, 66% in UK, Scandinavian countries more than 85% and almost 100% in Norway.
It is preferable because it is a less invasive procedure than surgical abortion that can be performed much earlier and it can be done in the privacy of a woman’s home.
The expansion of access to medical terminations by tele-medicine is particularly important to women living in rural and regional Australia. These women have to travel long distances or indeed travel interstate to undergo surgery or not had the option of surgery at all.
Home-based medical abortion is intended to simplify the medical abortion regimen while providing best medical practice. Home-based medical abortion improves the acceptability of medical abortion by allowing for greater privacy than in-clinic abortion and giving women greater control over the timing of the abortion. In reports from many countries, the majority of women opted for home-based medical abortion when offered the choice. Self-administration is already common in France and the United States.
“Women must have the right to health care and women must have the right to choose.”