01.03.2023 (PRESS RELEASE) – Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that mifepristone—one of two medications used in medication abortion—may now be dispensed directly to patients at pharmacies and through mail order pharmacies with a prescription. The FDA has also permanently eliminated a requirement that forced patients to obtain medication abortion in person.
The previous restriction mandating patients to get mifepristone in person at a doctor’s office, hospital, or health center instead of from a pharmacy or by mail—which is allowed for other equally safe medications—was temporarily lifted in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s announcement makes that repeal permanent. This decision comes after the FDA conducted a comprehensive review of the need, or lack thereof, of these restrictions.
Statement from Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“We applaud the FDA for taking a significant step today to permanently improve access to medication abortion in the U.S. Now, people in states where abortion is legal will be able to get medication abortion with a prescription through their local pharmacy or by mail—just like they can for other equally safe medications.
This is good news for science and patients. Since the FDA approved mifepristone more than 20 years ago, it has been proven to be exceptionally safe and effective. This is a commonsense decision that prioritizes science and safety over politics.
Today’s announcement means that people in states where abortion is legal will be able to consult with their health care providers and obtain medication abortion in the way that works best for them—whether it’s through their neighborhood pharmacy or through the mail. However, 12 states have banned abortion, and this move will not change anything for the people in those states, which is why Congress must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to ensure the right to access abortion care is protected nationwide. With abortion under attack in so many parts of the U.S., improving access to care is a public health imperative that can’t wait.”
Medication abortion accounts for more than half (54%) of all abortions in the U.S. Since the FDA approved medication abortion in 2000, it has been used by more than 4 million women in the U.S. It has a well-documented safety record, demonstrated in real-world use and in more than 100 research publications in peer-reviewed journals. More information on the safety of medication abortion can be found here.
Abortion is currently illegal in twelve states, leaving over 70 million people without access to abortion care. At least 66 clinics nationwide have been forced to cease abortion services. Eighteen states have banned access to medication abortion via telemedicine.
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