Telemedicine Abortions Are Safe — So Why Are They Still So Hard To Get?

OCTOBER 20, 2020

Katie realized she was pregnant during the first week of April 2020. She decided pretty quickly that she wanted to terminate the pregnancy. She already had two kids, and she’d just been diagnosed with high blood pressure. The condition was still uncontrolled, which made her pregnancy high-risk. But it was just weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. She was in full lockdown, and she wasn’t sure if she could get an abortion.

"I was Googling abortions," she tells Refinery29. "My biggest thing was not wanting to actually go to a place." Besides being afraid of catching the virus, the nearest clinic to Katie was six hours away from her home in New Mexico, and she wasn’t sure how she’d find the time to get there.


Supreme Court denies request to lift injunction on FDA abortion pill rule

OCT. 8, 2020
By Daniel Uria

Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to lift a nationwide injunction preventing the Trump administration from regulating a pill commonly used for medication abortions.

In its first action on reproductive rights since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the shorthanded court rejected the bid to remove the emergency stay against restoring regulations that require patients to see a medical provider before receiving Mifeprex.


USA – Ted Cruz and a Bunch of GOP Senators Are Trying to Ban the Abortion Pill

They're asking the FDA to declare the pill used in about 40% of abortions an “imminent hazard to public health.”

By Carter Sherman
September 2, 2020

Sen. Ted Cruz is leading the charge on a Hail Mary plea to the Food and Drug and Administration: He wants the agency to cut off access to a pill that’s used in nearly 40% of U.S. abortions.

On Monday, the Texas Republican led a group of 20 senators in sending a letter to the commissioner of the FDA, asking the agency to take the pill mifepristone, which helps induce abortions, off the U.S. market. The senators want the pill declared an “imminent hazard to public health.”


USA – Everything You Need to Know About the Abortion Pill

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.


USA – Anti-Choice Activists Fighting a Losing Battle Against Medication Abortion

Anti-Choice Activists Fighting a Losing Battle Against Medication Abortion
Medication abortion is a gamechanger for pregnant people, particularly when other forms of abortion are difficult to access or even unavailable.

Oct 1, 2019
Carole Joffe & David S. Cohen

With the recent news that almost 40 percent of the abortions in this country in 2017 were by pill rather than surgical procedure, now is a great time to appreciate the seemingly unstoppable revolution this medical advance has brought about.

Abortion providers all over the country have witnessed this revolution firsthand. As the director of a network of clinics in a large Western state told us, “We’re doing medication abortions with nurse practitioners all over the state, and it’s particularly important in the mountains.” She explained that before medication abortion, in a particularly remote area, “if the doc was there on Tuesday and you came in on Wednesday, you had to wait another week or two.” This pushed some patients too late in pregnancy to have an abortion. But now, patients in the region “can come in on the day the nurse practitioner is there, which is almost every day, and be taken care of.”


USA – Restrictions On Abortion Medication Deserve A Second Look, Says A Former FDA Head

Restrictions On Abortion Medication Deserve A Second Look, Says A Former FDA Head

August 20, 2019
Luisa Torres

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.


USA – Prosecution of Unauthorized Abortion Pill Websites Begins

Prosecution of Unauthorized Abortion Pill Websites Begins
Ursula Wing sold abortion drugs to U.S. customers and is now charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown

The first wave of prosecutions of abortion pill sellers is upon us. A federal court last week arraigned pill purveyor Ursula Wing on charges of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Wing, who lives in New York, is accused of running a website that sold foreign-sourced pharmaceuticals to U.S. customers. The drugs Wing supposedly sold—mifepristone and misoprostol—can be taken in a two-step process to induce an abortion. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved this pill regimen for prescription use, under the brand name Mifeprex.


America’s first generic abortion pill, explained

America’s first generic abortion pill, explained
The introduction of a generic abortion medication could mean lower costs for patients, but barriers to access remain.

By Anna North
Aug 20, 2019

In 2000, a new method of abortion became available in America: an oral medication called mifepristone.

Previously, the procedure in the early stages of pregnancy often involved emptying the uterus by suction. But taken with another medication called misoprostol, mifepristone can end a pregnancy in the first 10 weeks without the need for an in-clinic procedure. Patients can go through much of the process in whatever setting they like, with whomever they like — or alone.


An Update on Abortion Pills From the World Health Organization Undermines How the U.S. Regulates Them

An Update on Abortion Pills From the World Health Organization Undermines How the U.S. Regulates Them
The update may make mifepristone and misoprostol more readily available worldwide. But in the U.S., not much is expected to change.

Francie Diep
Jul 15, 2019

Abortion pills should be widely available and affordable, and don't need to be dispensed by highly trained specialists or in specialty facilities, according to a World Health Organization update published last week.

Abortions induced by taking pills are the safest type available. The recommended regimen is two pills, containing the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol. The pills work best on early stage pregnancies, around 10 weeks' gestation or less. The WHO has considered mifepristone and misoprostol "essential medicines" since 2005, but in the recent update, WHO experts decided that they had enough scientific evidence to strike the caveat saying the medications require "close medical supervision."


FDA Restrictions On Abortion Pills Need To Go, According To Dozens Of Doctors & Advocates

FDA Restrictions On Abortion Pills Need To Go, According To Dozens Of Doctors & Advocates

By Madhuri Sathish
July 1, 2019

Last year, a doctor who performs remote, online consultations for pregnant people seeking abortions in other countries launched a new service called Aid Access, to ship abortion pills to Americans. Several months later, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered Aid Access to stop supplying abortion pills to Americans, prompting reproductive rights advocates to write an open letter arguing that FDA restrictions on abortion pills need to go.

The letter, which was published on July 1, was signed by 75 reproductive rights advocacy groups, legal experts, and health care providers, all of whom insisted that medication abortions have a strong record of being both safe and effective. The letter also urged the FDA to make decisions about medication abortion access based on science, rather than politics.