New Lawsuit Challenges FDA Restriction That Imposes Life-Threatening Risks on Patients Seeking Abortion and Miscarriage Care
ACLU, leading medical experts and reproductive justice advocates ask court to block FDA restriction that subjects patients and clinicians to needless COVID-19 risk
May 27, 2020
WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit today on behalf of a coalition of medical experts led by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The legal action challenges a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that subjects patients to unnecessary COVID-19 risks as a condition of receiving a medication used for early abortion and miscarriage treatment.
Feminist Multi-Front Battle to End FDA’s Abortion Pill Restriction
by Carrie N. Baker
Feminists have been fighting a defensive battle to protect abortion rights for years—but today some are taking the offense, pushing to expand abortion access by calling for the removal of FDA restriction on the abortion pill mifepristone.
Formerly known as RU-486, mifepristone ends pregnancy by blocking the effects of the hormone progesterone, which sustains pregnancy. Used in combination with another drug—misoprostol, which causes contractions to complete an abortion—mifepristone is extremely safe.
No-Test Medication Abortion Increases Safety and Access During COVID-19
A new study proposes an innovative, no-test medication abortion protocol that would enable clinicians to safely administer medication abortion to patients without any preliminary tests or in-person encounters
by Carrie N. Baker
Imagine a world where women could access safe and supported abortion health care without ever leaving their homes. In this world, after a phone call or video conference with a health care professional, women could receive the abortion pill in the mail, which they could take safely in the privacy of their own homes under the supervision of a clinician.
No invasive, time-consuming pelvic exams or blood tests. No state-mandated ultrasounds or waiting periods requiring multiple visits. No walking past lines of screaming anti-abortion protesters. No driving long distances, having to find and pay for child care, or taking time off from work. No exposure to COVID-19.
Amid Covid-19, a Call for M.D.s to Mail the Abortion Pill
For decades, the consensus has been that F.D.A. regulations require that the abortion pill be obtained in a clinic. But that’s changing.
By Patrick Adams
May 12, 2020
Last fall, months before America’s first outbreak of the coronavirus, Francine Coeytaux and Elisa Wells, co-founders of the abortion rights advocacy group Plan C, were reaching out to doctors with a question they said was urgent:
“Would you be willing to mail the ‘abortion pills’ to women in their homes?”
Coronavirus crisis magnifies existing challenges to abortion access
May 07, 2020
In our recent book, Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America, David Cohen and I detail the considerable difficulties many people have in accessing abortion care. The relative scarcity of clinics means long travel for many; that abortion patients are disproportionately low-income women of color means hardship in paying for the procedure, particularly since the majority of states do not allow Medicaid funds to be used for abortion; the onerous waiting periods in many states often mean women have to stay overnight in a distant city, leading to the additional costs of lodging and more days of lost wages; confrontations with protestors at the clinic sites themselves can often be deeply upsetting. All these barriers have increased exponentially with the coming of COVID-19, and some new problems have been added as well.
The UK allows home use of the abortion pill — the US should do the same
By Susan F. Wood and Cynthia Pearson, opinion contributors
In late March, the United Kingdom issued new guidance authorizing physicians to provide medication abortion pills to those wishing to end their pregnancies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The change was immediately embraced by the public and by British abortion providers who know home use is a safe and effective way to experience an early abortion.
British patients who need an early abortion now consult with a provider by telephone or video link and the medication abortion pills are then delivered to the patient’s home. This is a safe, sensible way to protect pregnant women and their doctors during an epidemic. British leaders and medical experts are to be commended for recognizing that abortion is an essential health care service that can be provided safely within the constraints of physical distancing and stay-at-home orders.
FDA Should Lift Abortion Pill Restrictions, Says Former Agency Head
Jane Henney says the restrictions are dangerous during a pandemic because they require unnecessary travel and contact between patients and providers.
by Marie Solis
Apr 27 2020
For two decades, the Food and Drug Administration has maintained restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone that require patients to receive it from a licensed provider at a hospital or clinic, despite overwhelming evidence that shows the drug is safe and effective to take outside of immediate medical supervision. For patients, that has meant that instead of filling a prescription at the pharmacy—as we do with countless other medications—they must face all the obstacles to accessing abortion clinics, which dwindle in number every year, just to be handed a pill.
The FDA Could Improve Abortion Access Under Coronavirus But It Won't
Abortion pills have to be picked up in person at a clinic. Advocates say that has to change during the pandemic.
by Christine Grimaldi
Mar 19 2020
When Donald Trump used “two very big words” to declare a national emergency over the novel coronavirus on Friday, he bragged about giving his top health official the “ability to waive laws to enable telehealth” during the pandemic. But it appears that the president’s latitude will not apply to medication abortion care, a federal agency confirmed to VICE.
People who want to end their pregnancies will have to navigate the same restrictions as always, which will become all the more complicated in a pandemic environment.
Everything You Need to Know About the Abortion Pill
By Rose Minutaglio
Nov 22, 2019
For Nicole, taking the abortion pill was like getting through "an extremely painful poop." It hurt, a lot, and then it was done. She was bartending at the time, lightyears away from thinking about motherhood, and decided on medication abortion. At $585, it was cheaper than a surgical abortion. Plus, Nicole wanted do it in the privacy of her own home. Two pills, four days, and several pairs of bloody underwear later ("it was basically like an extra heavy period for a week," she says), she went back to work at the bar.
Medication abortion or the "abortion pill" is a legal way to end a pregnancy—one that women like Nicole increasingly prefer over surgical abortion for a variety of reasons. It now accounts for more than one-third of all clinic abortions in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Restrictions On Abortion Medication Deserve A Second Look, Says A Former FDA Head
August 20, 2019
Mifepristone is one of a regimen of two drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to end an early pregnancy. It's also prescribed to help reduce the severity of miscarriage symptoms. But it is heavily regulated in ways that can make it hard for women to obtain. Along with its approval in 2000, the FDA restricted its use because of safety concerns.
In a perspective article published this summer in the New England Journal of Medicine, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Jane Henney and co-author Dr. Helene Gayle argue that the agency should reevaluate whether such measures are still necessary and take into consideration recent studies that show mifepristone is both effective and safe.