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US virtual abortion clinic raises US$6.1m to expand abortion access post Roe v Wade

The company had to find new ways to deliver critical abortion services following the court ruling

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Hey Jane’s co-founders Gaby Izarra, Kiki Freedman and Dr Kate Shaw

 A US virtual abortion clinic has raised US$6.1m to bring people safe, private and affordable abortion care in a post-Roe world.

The so-called “Roe Round” will help Hey Jane to resource new efforts to reach more patients seeking abortion care following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade.

After what the founders described as “a tremendous outpouring of interest”, the abortion provider has closed the funding round with the help of female-founded funds, including Ulu Ventures, The Helm, Amboy Street, Portfolia, and G9,

“Do some investors hesitate to invest in an abortion startup? Sure — but that won’t stop us,” said Kiki Freedman, Hey Jane co-founder and CEO.

“We’re unrelenting in our mission and excited by the growing number of investors who see the value of this work.

“We’re incredibly proud of this record-breaking funding round that will allow us to continue innovating and serving as a category leader at such a pivotal moment in history.”

Lindsey Taylor Wood, partner at The Helm, said: “In a post-Roe world, innovation will be key in solving for access to abortion.

“Hey Jane is a lighthouse, not only for the individuals seeking medication abortion, but the companies following in their footsteps.

“They are guiding all stakeholders — the public and private sectors, the policymakers, and the individuals looking for scaleable solutions — toward an undeniable reality: When investing in women’s holistic and comprehensive healthcare, the social and financial returns are exponential,” she added.

Hey Jane has supported nearly 20,000 patients in only a year and a half and is expecting the abortion pill to become an increasingly crucial option for millions throughout the US following the recent court’s decision.

The company says patient demand has increased by three times in the past year, growing its clinical team by five times and expanding its footprint from three to eight states.

Freedman said: “We’re incredibly proud of this record-breaking funding round that will allow us to continue innovating and serving as a category leader at such a pivotal moment in history.

“With our Roe Round of funding, we’ll be able to make an even bigger impact — quickly.”

She added: “We plan on using this latest round to continue growing our all-star team, expand access to even more patients through insurance and enterprise partnerships, launch in new states, and treat other common but stigmatised healthcare needs, such as postpartum depression and anxiety, using our innovative Complete Care approach which combines emotional support and online community with a strong clinical core.”

Hey Jane is planning to expand select services to all 50 states by the end of 2023.

Nancy Torres, partner at Ulu Ventures, said: “We are thrilled to support Hey Jane’s vision of becoming the most trusted healthcare company.

“Hey Jane’s approach of delivering clinical, emotional, and social support through one platform has led to industry-leading customer satisfaction and widespread brand loyalty.

“The trust Hey Jane earns with patients today could extend into other areas of healthcare that impact women and diverse groups disproportionately, and their complete care approach has the potential to support patients over a lifetime.”

For more info, visit heyjane.com.

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New survey to ‘amplify’ marginalised voices in healthcare decision-making

UK charities enter partnership to address gender gap and advocate for inclusive healthcare policies

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The gynaecological health charity Cysters and Endometriosis UK have announced a partnership to amplify women’s voice in healthcare decision-making.

Despite progress in healthcare data collection, there remains a gap in representing the experiences of marginalised groups, particularly for those impacted by conditions and diseases like endometriosis.

Decision-makers in Parliament and the NHS often rely on data and statistics to inform policy and resource allocation. However, these datasets may not accurately reflect the experiences of marginalised communities.

A recent report from Endometriosis UK that gathered data on the experiences of being diagnosed with endometriosis in the UK found that whilst the ethnicity of respondents who identified as ‘white’ was proportionate to the data collected in the Census 2021, the remaining data was not illustrative of the ethnic diversity of the UK, with 15 per cent of respondents choosing not to respond to the ethnicity question.

To address this gap and advocate for inclusive healthcare policies, Cysters and Endometriosis UK are launching a new survey initiative aimed at amplifying the voices of marginalised groups in healthcare decision-making.

“We know that the current statistics are not inclusive of all communities, particularly marginalised groups,” said Neelam Heera-Shergill, founder of Cysters.

“By encouraging those from marginalised communities to share their experiences through this survey, they will be helping us to advocate for the changes that are needed, backed by evidence from their communities.

“In addition to delving into the diagnosis journey for people of colour and the unique barriers they encounter. We aim for this research and findings to pave the way for additional funded research on all menstrual-related conditions affecting people of colour.”

The survey seeks to gather insights into the experiences of marginalised communities, particularly concerning conditions and diseases like endometriosis.

Participants are encouraged to share their experiences openly and honestly, knowing that their responses will contribute to shaping more inclusive healthcare policies.

Sarah Harris, a researcher at Cysters, said: “We urge everyone to participate in this survey and share it far and wide. Together, we can ensure that all voices are considered in the conversation surrounding healthcare policy and resource allocation.”

The survey is anonymous and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. To participate, visit Delayed Diagnosis of Endometriosis Among People of Colour in the UK Survey.

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Menstrual care start-up launches period equity initiative across college campuses

The initiative is hoped to facilitate access to period care and educate students on the use of more sustainable products

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Cherie Hoeger, founder and CEO of Saalt

The US menstrual care start-up Saalt has launched a new initiative aimed at addressing period poverty and environmental sustainability.

The Period Equity Initiative aims to reduce 100 million tampons from the environment while combatting period poverty.

Institutions, including Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, the University of Utah and the University of Nebraska, are already participating in the programme.

One in five female college students in the US have had to decide between buying period products and paying for other basic essentials like food and other bills according to a nationwide survey.

The initiative, a direct response to the demand for more units for student populations, underscores the issue of period poverty, which affects students across America, challenging the misconception that it is solely an “overseas problem”.

Saalt aims to make period care accessible and affordable through the subsidisation of reusable period products, such as cups, discs, and period underwear, to participating universities and their campus affiliates.

The project is hoped to not only facilitate access to period care, but also educate students on the use of more sustainable products, which are designed to be reused rather than discarded.

“Every day we hear from customers about how life-changing Saalt cups are for them,” said Cherie Hoeger, founder and CEO of Saalt.

“Creating period equity and managing the environmental impact created by disposables are pressing matters that demand urgent attention and innovative solutions.

“Through our Period Equity Initiative, we’re taking a proactive approach to tackle these challenges by leveraging our expertise and aligning with universities across America to make a big impact closer to home.”

The Period Equity Initiative, Hoeger added, furthers Saalt’s commitment to making period care more affordable, accessible and sustainable.

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Medical device start-up enters partnership with Bayer Switzerland

The collaboration is hoped to help “transform” gynaecological examinations

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The medical device start-up Aspivix has announced a partnership with Bayer Switzerland in an effort to “modernise” gynaecological procedures.

Aspivix has developed an innovative, suction-based cervical device designed as an alternative to the tenaculum, a surgical instrument commonly used in gynaecology for over a century.

The device aims to reduce pain and bleeding during transcervical procedures, including IUD placement.

Through the partnership with Bayer, Aspivix is now officially introducing Carevix in an effort to “transform” gynaecological examinations.

The collaboration is hoped to help bring the tool to market and offer women a more comfortable gynaecological experience, reducing the cases of pain associated with IUD procedures.

“We are excited to enter this partnership with Bayer (Schweiz) AG that truly emphasise the goal of empowering women to select the best contraceptive solution without worrying about potential pain and bleeding,” said Mathieu Horras, co-founder and CEO of Aspivix.

“The thorough research and clinical data behind Carevix guarantee a notable decrease in pain and bleeding, enhancing the experience of IUD adoption and placement, as well as various other gynaecological procedures for millions of women.”

The device, Horras added, provides an appealing alternative to the currently available tenaculum, filling an “important” unmet need.

Marco Gierten, Bayer Switzerland women’s healthcare lead, said: “As a globally trusted brand, Bayer remains committed to advancing solutions that provide significant benefits to patients.”

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