The Biden administration said in a court filing last week it may reverse a 21-year-old restriction on the abortion pill and allow it to be distributed by mail, even after the pandemic ends.
The news came nearly one month after the acting commission of the Food and Drug Administration announced that the FDA would allow the abortion pill to be mailed during the pandemic “under the supervision of a certified prescriber.”
But that temporary lift on the restriction may become permanent. The Clinton administration’s FDA approved the abortion pill in 2000 and required it to be dispensed in person. Every administration since then upheld the requirement.
The Biden Justice Department said in a May 7 court filing that the FDA is conducting a “review of the risk evaluation and mitigation strategy” (REMS) of mifepristone, one of the two drugs involved in a chemical abortion (informally known as the “abortion pill”).
The American Civil Liberties Union celebrated the news.
It is often called “abortion by mail.”
“The FDA’s decision to review these senseless restrictions on mifepristone – though long overdue – is a critical move towards ensuring that patients can access this safe, effective medication without needless obstacles,” said Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
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 the dead baby. The two drugs can be taken only early in the pregnancy, up to 48 hours apart.
Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, told Life News earlier this year that “abortion by mail” endangers the safety of women.
“Allowing unsupervised chemical abortions via telemedicine, without requiring timely access to medical care, will put women in grave danger,” she said. “Data released in 2018 by the FDA shows thousands of adverse events caused by abortion pills, including 768 hospitalizations and 24 deaths since 2000. Chemical abortions should have more medical oversight, not less.”
Photo courtesy: Thought Catalog/Unsplash
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.