The Speculum Finally Gets a Modern Redesign

It was afternoon in the San Francisco headquarters of Frog, the design firm best known for its hand in creating the iconic look of products like Apple's original Macintosh computers. Hailey Stewart, one of Frog's industrial designers, had scattered an array of prototypes on a table. On one end, you could see cylinders of foam that looked almost like skinny vibrators, with handles that stuck out at different angles and sketches of levers and screw mechanisms. And on the other, the common speculum—the device used in routine gynecological exams to inspect the cervix. Stewart picked one up and cranked it open. "You're literally in the stirrups with that sound"—the device made a loud, painful sounding click—"and it's like, excuse my …

Telemedicine Makes It Safe to Get Abortion Drugs in the Mail

Every restriction on access to abortion draws the metaphoric walls closer. On who can dispense drugs, on what clinical tests are required first, on how far along the pregnancy can be—the rules are all designed to delay, deter, and delegitimize. It’s a Death Star Trash Compactor. The box around abortion gets smaller and smaller. That’s policymaking; technology, meanwhile, tends to see boxes as something to think outside of. A long-awaited study published this week in the journal Contraception offers a way around tightening regulations: telemedicine. Abortion medication provided by mail, administered by a practitioner working via videoconference, could safely enlarge the geographic footprint of clinics and providers. “Many clinics already use telemedicine for other services,” says Elizabeth Raymond, a researcher …