On Thursday, the US Food and Medicine Administration relaxed a limitation on the abortion pill mifepristone that required clinicians to distribute the drug in person, allowing it to be sent by mail.
The choice is subject to state laws, which may make the practise illegal. However, the FDA’s decision might have substantial ramifications for women, particularly in remote places where finding a clinic or doctor who will deliver the medicine in person may be difficult.
The FDA emphasised the need to “reduce burden on patient access and the health-care delivery system” in its new guidance posted online.
Abortion rights advocates applauded the action, but said more has to be done to make abortion more accessible.
“While today’s action will help people seeking care a long way, additional barriers must be removed once and for all,” said Destiny Lopez, co-president of All* Above All.
Mifepristone, which blocks the hormone progesterone, is administered to women within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. The pill is combined with misoprostol, a medicine that produces cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus.
Last spring, the FDA stopped enforcing the in-person dispensing rule for mifepristone, citing COVID hazards and noting the drug’s solid safety record since its introduction more than two decades ago.
Women must still get the pill from a licenced health care professional.
While proponents of abortion rights argue that the ruling respects a woman’s right to privacy while seeking a legal abortion, opponents argue that the procedure is risky and puts women’s lives at jeopardy.
“The Biden administration’s rash decision jeopardises the lives of countless women and unborn infants. The goal of pro-abortion campaigners has long been to convert every post office and pharmacy into an abortion clinic “Susan B. Anthony List’s state policy director, Sue Liebel, expressed her opposition to abortion.
The ruling made on Thursday does not guarantee that every woman would be able to obtain the pill over the mail.
19 states already require a practitioner to be physically present while giving the pill and restrict telemedicine when prescribing it, according to The Guttmacher Institute, which studies state policies on the abortion pill.
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