On Thursday, the federal government ended the in-person restriction on access to the abortion pill Mifepristone.
Lifting the limitation means patients will be permitted to receive the medication by mail rather than physically go to a physician’s office to obtain the prescription.
Patients wishing to terminate a pregnancy can now choose to have a telemedicine appointment with a provider that is authorized to prescribe and send the medication via mail. This allows those who find it hard to travel or would rather end a pregnancy in the comfort of their own home to do so.
Two other restrictions remain: the drug must be prescribed by a specially certified health provider, and the patient must still sign an agreement acknowledging said provider informed about the drug.
Florida State University Law Professor Mary Ziegler stated, “It’s really significant. Telehealth abortions are much easier for both providers and patients, and even in states that want to do it, there have been limits on how available it is.”
While the FDA has decided to lift restrictions on the abortion pill, the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on further restricting abortion, or even fully rescind their historic decision in the 1973 case Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal countrywide.
Some anti-abortion groups have expressed strong concerns against the ruling.
The group Susan B. Anthony List said in a statement, “The Biden administration today moved to weaken longstanding federal safety regulations against mail-order abortion drugs designed to protect women from serious health risks and potential abuse. The Biden administration policy allows for dangerous at-home, do-it-yourself abortions without necessary medical oversight.”
The FDA had previously decided to temporarily lift the in-person restriction on mifepristone, the first drug necessary to end a pregnancy, for the duration of the pandemic.