During the pandemic, women have been able to get abortion pills to take at home through an email or phone call. Will it stay that way?
Emily Shugerman, Gender Reporter
Updated May. 16, 2021
In California right now, you can get an abortion without speaking to a single other human being. You log onto a website—mychoix.co—put in your health information, answer some questions, and wait for an email from a clinician letting you know if you’ve been approved. If you are, an online pharmacy will ship you a package of mifepristone and misoprostol—a two-pill regime that is safer than many prescription drugs and 98 percent effective at terminating early-stage pregnancies. You will take it, you will bleed, your pregnancy will—in all likelihood—end.
This particular configuration is available in only one state, for a limited time, due to an emergency declaration issued by the Food and Drug Administration during the pandemic. But make no mistake: This is the future abortion advocates want.
Covid-19 may end up inadvertently speeding up abortion progress in America — and exposing conservative hypocrisy along the way.
May 13, 2021
By Jessica Valenti, New York Times
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration announced that people seeking abortion pills during the Covid-19 pandemic will no longer have to visit a doctor’s office to get a prescription. Under the Trump administration, patients were required to receive the first of the medication’s two doses in person, a mandate upheld by the Supreme Court in January. The new policy instead allows for telemedicine consultations and pills sent by mail.
The decision is a practical one for the Covid era: It reduces unnecessary face time in doctor’s offices, which cuts down the potential for exposure. It could also be a huge blow to the anti-abortion movement. Groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have been pushing the Biden administration to make the F.D.A.’s decision permanent. Last week, in a legal filing, the agency announced it was reviewing their restrictions on the medication.
Abortions are legal in Guam, but women have no access to them because of a lack of local providers and rules requiring in-person consultations for the procedures.
By Eleni Avendaño
May 9, 2021
Women in Guam who want an abortion are being forced to come to Hawaii or travel elsewhere for the procedure since the island’s only abortion provider left a few years ago.
But two Hawaii physicians and the American Civil Liberties Union are trying to convince a Guam court that women in the U.S. territory should be able to get abortions using medication prescribed remotely instead of having to travel for an in-person appointment. A Guam judge denied a preliminary injunction last week and the case is now pending in District Court.
The FDA’s announcement that it will permit abortion medication to be sent by mail is a start—but advocates are hoping for more.
By Amy Littlefield
Apr 27, 2021
The Biden administration’s announcement this month that it would allow mifepristone to be sent by mail revolutionized access to abortion—in about half the country. Elsewhere, state laws requiring patients to meet with a provider in person preempt the new policy, underscoring just how much a person’s options depend on where they live.
“I think it’s great for states that it will impact,” Laurie Bertram Roberts, who cofounded the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund and now leads the Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama, said with a wry laugh. “Neither of the states that I work in are one of those.”
by CARRIE N. BAKER
Last Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued long-awaited guidance lifting a restriction on the abortion pill mifepristone for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The move permits telemedicine abortion, a combination of medication abortion—using pills to end a pregnancy—and telemedicine, which allows health providers to supervise the use of abortion pills via videoconferencing or telephone consultations.
Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, wrote in a letter to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine that the FDA will waive a requirement that clinicians dispense the abortion pill mifepristone to their patients in a clinic or hospital setting. The letter said research studies on telemedicine abortion “do not appear to show increases in serious safety concerns occurring with medical abortion as a result of modifying the in-person dispensing requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
BY ABIGAIL ABRAMS
APRIL 13, 2021
The Biden Administration is removing restrictions on mailing abortion pills during the COVID-19 pandemic, a reversal from the Trump Administration’s policy that marks a new phase in the national debate over abortion rights.
The move temporarily changes longstanding Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules governing mifepristone—one of two drugs used to terminate early pregnancies—that required patients to pick up the pills in-person from a medical provider. Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock sent a letter to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine on Monday saying that her agency reviewed recent evidence and found that using telemedicine to provide abortion pills would not increase risks and would help patients avoid potential exposure to COVID-19.
The agency said it would stop enforcing a rule requiring women to get the first of two pills in person at a medical clinic or hospital.
By Pam Belluck
Published April 13, 2021
The Biden administration has decided to allow women to receive abortion pills by mail for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, the latest development in an issue that has increasingly taken center stage in the American abortion debate.
In a letter sent Monday to two leading organizations representing reproductive health physicians, the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration said that the agency would temporarily stop enforcing its requirement that the first of two drugs needed to terminate an early pregnancy be dispensed in a medical clinic.
The FDA concluded that allowing patients to receive abortion pills through the mail will not increase risks.
By ALICE MIRANDA OLLSTEIN and DARIUS TAHIR
The Biden administration is lifting restrictions on dispensing abortion pills by mail during the Covid-19 pandemic, reversing a Trump administration policy that the Supreme Court backed in January.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock informed the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in a letter Monday that her agency concluded that allowing patients to receive the pills via telemedicine and through the mail will not increase risks and will keep people safe from contracting the virus.
March 30, 2021
One year into the pandemic, ensuring access to abortion is more critical than ever. Being able to decide whether and when to give birth has always been central to women’s economic security, and is of particular importance now: women—especially women of color—are bearing the brunt of the job loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, because of restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion, abortion services are already inaccessible for many low-income women, including many women insured by Medicaid. The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Act, reintroduced in Congress March 25 by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), would take a crucial step in making affordable abortion care a reality for these women.
BY Claire Provost, openDemocracy
PUBLISHED March 28, 2021
Doctors in at least a dozen countries, supported by U.S. Christian Right activists, are providing women with a “dangerous” and controversial treatment that claims to “reverse” medical abortions, openDemocracy can reveal today.
Women’s health and rights activists have called for urgent investigation by authorities into these findings – which were described as “horrific” especially during the pandemic when it’s critical for people to trust healthcare providers.