dot.LA Summit: Why Tech Investors Are Coming Up Short in the Post-Roe Era
Everything is harder if you’re an abortion provider, said Cindy Adam.
Adam is the co-founder and CEO of Choix, a telehealth clinic offering abortion, reproductive and sexual care to women. In the four months since Roe v. Wade was overturned, companies like hers have had to pivot, reacting to fast-moving legal changes on both the state and federal levels.
Joining Adam onstage for the dot.LA "Health in the Post-Roe Era" panel on Friday were Crystal Adesanya (founder and CEO of Kiira Health, a hybrid clinic offering both virtual and in-person appointments); Kiki Freedman (co-founder and CEO of HeyJane, a virtual clinic offering abortion care) and Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi (co-CEO, co-founder, and lead pharmacist of Honeybee Health, the first pharmacy to ship abortion pills in the United States). Over the course of the discussion — moderated by Kathryne Cooper of Jumpstart Nova — the speakers explored how women’s concerns have changed since the Supreme Court’s ruling, and how tech investors are coming up short in the renewed fight to support reproductive rights.
Telehealth clinics and pharmacies have become increasingly important in the advent of the Roe decision. With bans currently active in 13 states, brick and mortar clinics in areas where abortion services are still legal have been overrun by out-of-state patients seeking care. Educating women about their at-home options as they pertain to treatment, emotional support and physical support is key, but new legal guidelines make advertising more difficult.
“Google has been a huge channel for us,” said Freedman. “[Women] have this urgent need, so they turn to search.” But the panelists explained that lately, there’s anxiety surrounding entering personal information into these platforms. “It would be great to see big tech step up to show how they’re protecting this data,” Freedman added.
Also shifting is the role pharmacists play in women’s healthcare, said Nouhavandi. In addition to shipping abortion pills, pharmacists at her company Honeybee Health offer consultations six days a week, prescribe birth control and medications targeting pain and nausea and refill mental health drugs like anti-depressants.
Over 50% of all abortions in the United States are carried out using pills rather than surgery, but the panelists noted there is still work to be done to educate people about the existence and efficacy of these treatment options.
“One in four people have an abortion, one in two are taking medication abortion pills because of ectopic pregnancies and miscarriage,” Nouhavandi said. “So what that says here is it’s not just abortion. There’s women dying if they don’t have access to this medication.”
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