On Thursday, the Biden administration said it is reversing two decades of bipartisan precedent and will allow pregnant women to receive the abortion pill by mail, clearing the way for a landmark policy change that pro-lifers warn will have a devastating impact on women’s health and safety.
At issue is a policy backed by the administrations of Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump that requires the abortion pill to be dispensed in-person, such as in clinics or doctor’s offices.
Pro-choice groups had urged the Food and Drug Administration to loosen the restrictions and allow women to receive the pill by mail.
On Thursday, the FDA released a new policy stating that the abortion pill “must be prescribed by or under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider.” Gone is the previous requirement that it “only be dispensed in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals.”
The Biden FDA previously had jettisoned the in-person requirement for the pandemic. Under the new policy, those looser restrictions are permanent.
The pro-life group Live Action called the new policy “revolting.”
“This means mothers will take the abortion pill at home with the possibility of hemorrhaging to death from undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy or adverse impacts of the drug,” Live Action said in a statement. “She’ll then go into early labor, deliver the dead child into a toilet, and flush her baby into the sewer system.”
The abortion pill actually includes two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone, causing the lining of the uterus to break down in order to kill the unborn baby. Misoprostol sparks contractions and the delivery of a dead fetus. The two drugs can be taken only early in the pregnancy, up to 48 hours apart. The pills can be taken up to 70 days gestation, the FDA said.
The in-person FDA requirement dates back to the Clinton administration’s FDA, which approved the abortion pill in 2000.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute, a pro-life research group, criticized the decision by the Biden FDA, saying it could lead to women dying at home. Between 2000 and 2019, the institute said, “over 3,800 adverse events were reported to the FDA” related to the abortion pill, “including at least 20 deaths” and “more than 500 life-threatening complications.”
“However, an analysis of the data collected under this reporting requirement suggests that a significant number of complications were unreported and that the FDA may have missed as many as 95 percent of serious chemical abortion adverse events,” the institute said in a report released this week.
Said Live Action, “Because of this reckless decision, more mothers will die, more children will die, and the abortion pill will be more widespread than ever.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Henadzi Pechan
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.