Colorado becomes the first state to ban controversial abortion pill reversals

As pills emerge as the latest front in the war over abortion, the practice of administering progesterone after mifepristone may soon be labeled as ‘medical misconduct’ in the state.

Claire Cleveland, KFF Health News
May 3, 2023

In Glenwood Springs, Colorado, registered nurse Katie Laven answers calls from people who’ve started the two-pill medication abortion regimen and want to stop the process.

“They are just in turmoil,” said Laven, who works at the Abortion Pill Rescue Network and answers some of the roughly 150 calls it says come in each month. “They feel like, ‘Well, maybe an abortion would make it better.’ And then they take the abortion pill and they’re like, ‘I don’t feel better. In fact, I feel much worse that I did that.’”


The FDA’s Abortion Announcement Is Not What You Think

The FDA just reinforced “abortion exceptionalism” in health care and added paternalistic busywork for pharmacists dispensing medication abortion.

By Renee Bracey Sherman, Dr. Daniel Grossman and Tracy Weitz
JANUARY 6, 2023

This week, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it would allow mifepristone, the first pill taken in the two-drug medication abortion regimen, to be dispensed at retail pharmacies. The FDA’s decision is a welcome move that has garnered headlines, but the fine print contains significant red tape that will continue to serve as a barrier for people already struggling to access medical care.

Because of “abortion exceptionalism” allowing abortion care (and miscarriage management) to be treated differently from other health care, medication abortion has always been more regulated than it should be. When the FDA approved the drug in 2000, it did so under a little-known bureaucratic system known as the Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Drugs under REMS usually carry significant side effects or are highly addictive, neither of which is true for mifepristone. Under these restrictions, clinicians who provide medication abortion must register with the FDA and then dispense mifepristone directly to the patient. As Renee and Dr. Grossman wrote last year, this requirement has made it impossible for mifepristone to be available over the counter, or at the very least to be dispensed without unnecessary certifications, despite the fact that it’s safer than Tylenol.


Some major pharmacies are planning to dispense abortion pills, but not in every state

By Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Thu January 5, 2023

After a change to US Food and Drug Administration rules, major pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens say they plan to seek certification to distribute abortion pills where legally allowed.

The FDA said on its website Tuesday that pharmacies that become certified to dispense mifepristone, which may be used in a medication abortion, can do so directly to someone who has a prescription from a certified prescriber.


What Abortion Pill ‘Reversal’ Really Accomplishes

It’s more than an unproven medical treatment—it’s a view into the antiabortion movement’s larger project.

Sep 5, 2022

THE AMERICAN ANTIABORTION movement is on a full-court press to remake the nation in its image. In June, its decades-long campaign to install sympathetic Supreme Court justices paid off with the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, which stripped away the constitutional right to abortion. Now, the movement is pushing for draconian personhood laws (legislation granting fetuses the same rights as people) in an effort to make abortion murder.

In some states, the push is already working. In Georgia, for example, a new law allows expecting parents to claim fetuses as dependents on their tax returns. These victories are the result of a shrewd, ambitious strategy. The rise of an experimental treatment known as abortion pill “reversal” is part of this plan. Although it might appear a peripheral concern—hardly anyone actually seeks out this treatment—it’s a distinctly revealing pet project. The story of the rise of abortion pill reversal contains the antiabortion movement’s blueprint within it.


USA – Should you keep abortion pills at home, just in case?

With Roe on the brink, more experts are talking about advance provision of mifepristone and misoprostol.

By Rachel M. Cohen
Jun 22, 2022

Medication abortion, or taking a combination of the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, is an increasingly common method for ending pregnancies in the United States. Reasons vary and overlap: Some women lack access to in-person abortion clinics; others prefer to end pregnancies in the comfort of their own home. Others seek out the pills because they cost far less than surgical abortion.

With more in-person clinics shuttering and a Supreme Court that’s threatening to overturn Roe v. Wade, a small but growing number of reproductive experts have been encouraging discussion of an idea called “advance provision” — or, more colloquially, stocking up on abortion pills in case one needs them later.

USA – The Mail-Order Abortion Boom Is Here

Inside telemedicine’s rocky road to bring abortion care into the 21st century.

Ali Pattillo
Updated May. 28, 2022

As Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance, telemedicine startups offering mail-order abortion pills are scrambling to meet surges in demand for remote abortion care across the United States. These sleek, modern tech companies like Hey Jane, Just the Pill, and Carafem claim to offer safe, seamless, and effective abortion care at a distance.

Leah Coplon, a nurse midwife, abortion provider, and director of clinical operations at tele-abortion company Abortion on Demand, told The Daily Beast that countless patients remind her of the essential nature of this digital approach—patients who are living with abusive partners and are stealthily obtaining pills, patients in rural areas of the country where travelling to a clinic poses challenges, young people who do not feel safe disclosing their need for care, and those with common everyday obstacles like getting time off work, childcare, or transportation.


The FDA made mail-order abortion pills legal. Access is still a nightmare.

Restrictive states have already set their sights on a new wave of telehealth companies that were supposed to be a panacea for a post-Roe world.

By Julia Craven 
Mar 29, 2022

When Emma found out she was pregnant in February, it was too late for an in-clinic abortion.

She estimated that she was at six weeks, but Texas, a bastion of retrograde abortion policy, bans the procedure at roughly that mark, so any local options were out of the question. Her local Planned Parenthood told her to prepare to travel out of state and offered to connect her with a clinic. Emma, who takes medication that makes her cycle irregular, wanted an ultrasound to confirm her recollection of the gestation age. But the clinic didn’t have an appointment for the next two weeks.


Abortion pills by mail are safe. The FDA finally acknowledged it.

But it left other unnecessary restrictions in place, reminding us that abortion care is treated differently.

By Daniel Grossman
Dec 20, 2021

It took a pandemic, a lawsuit and an eight-month review of the evidence, but the Food and Drug Administration has finally loosened some of the restrictions it imposed 21 years ago on mifepristone, which is used together with a second medication, misoprostol, for medication abortion. While the FDA could have gone further, this move is based on solid scientific evidence and will improve access to abortion care for at least some people.

At issue was the FDA’s risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS, an extra layer of regulatory scrutiny that the agency applies to a small number of drugs that have safety concerns. Given decades-long experience with mifepristone and documenting the safety of the medication, physicians and researchers have been urging the FDA for years to remove mifepristone’s REMS. Not only was there no clear rationale about how the restrictions on mifepristone improved the drug’s safety, but there are many medications, including Viagra, with more significant risks without a REMS.

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California plans for a post-Roe world as abortion access shrinks elsewhere

Rachel Bluth, Kaiser Health News
Nov 18, 2021

SACRAMENTO — With access to abortion at stake across America, California is preparing to become the nation’s abortion provider.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders have asked a group of reproductive health experts to propose policies to bolster the state’s abortion infrastructure and ready it for more patients. Lawmakers plan to begin debating the ideas when they reconvene in January.


It’s Time for the Biden Administration to Let Pharmacists Dispense the Abortion Pill

Making the abortion pill available through pharmacies on prescription can improve abortion access—especially for those without an abortion clinic nearby.


In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities to abortion care across the country. Last spring, at least 11 states attempted to exploit the crisis to enact additional abortion restrictions, falsely labeling it non-essential care.

In an attempt to ease abortion access during the pandemic, a federal judge in July 2020 halted the in-person dispensing requirement for the abortion pill to allow patients to receive it by mail. However, this was reversed by the Supreme Court’s decision in January 2021 to once again enforce federal restrictions and clamp down on access to this critical medicine.