The Biden administration said this week it will reverse a Trump-era policy and allow pregnant women to receive the abortion pill by mail during the pandemic.
Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said in an April 12 letter to a professional medical group that because the “in-person dispensing” of the drug “for medical termination of early pregnancy may present additional COVID-related risks to patients and healthcare personnel” during a clinic visit, the drug may be dispensed by mail “provided all of the other requirements” are met. The drug must be dispensed “under the supervision of a certified prescriber,” the letter said.
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 a delivery of the dead baby. The two drugs can be taken only early in the pregnancy, up to 48 hours apart.
The in-person FDA requirement dates back to the Clinton administration’s FDA, which approved the abortion pill in 2000. The Bush, Obama and Trump administrations maintained the doctor’s visit requirements.
A district judge last year sided with pro-choicers and said the FDA in-person rules imposed a “substantial obstacle” to women during a pandemic. He allowed the pills to be mailed to women, without a doctor’s visit.
The U.S. Supreme Court in January blocked that lower court decision and ruled the FDA can require pregnant women to visit a doctor.
This week’s decision by the Biden FDA was expected.
Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, told Life News that the decision will endanger the safety of women.
“With this action, the Biden administration has made it clear that it will prioritize abortion over women’s safety,” Mancini said. “Allowing unsupervised chemical abortions via telemedicine, without requiring timely access to medical care, will put women in grave danger. 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: ©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.