Pro-life group calls decision a "reckless move."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has permanently lifted the in-person dispensing requirement for the chemical abortion drug mifepristone.
The move allows women seeking an abortion prior to 10 weeks gestation to receive the abortion-inducing drug by mail after having an online health consultation.
In the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the FDA had eased the restriction temporarily. The permanent change comes in response to a request to the Biden administration from medical groups including the American Medical Assocation and advocacy organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
The FDA still requires mifepristone to be prescribed by a specially certified health provider.
“The agency conducted a comprehensive review of the published literature, relevant safety and adverse event data, and information provided by advocacy groups, individuals and the applicants to reach this decision,” an FDA spokeswoman told the New York Times.
In 19 states, however, mostly in the South and the Midwest, telemedicine visits for this abortion method are banned. The Times predicted that these and other states could now pass laws to further curtail access to the pills.
“Yet other states, like California and New York, which have taken steps in recent years to further solidify access to abortion, are expected to increase the availability of the method and provide opportunities for women in states with restrictions to obtain abortion pills by traveling to a state that allows them,” the Times said.
Pro-life groups roundly condemned the FDA’s decision.
“Every life is sacred: the lives of mothers and the lives of the unborn. Not only does this decision further the tragic taking of unborn lives but it does little to care for the well-being of women in need,” Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said in a statement. “Far from the accompaniment that women in crisis pregnancies deserve, this decision would leave women alone in the midst of trauma, often without any medical attention or follow up care.”
The Susan B. Anthony List also called the FDA’s decision a “reckless move.”
“The Biden administration’s reckless move puts countless women and unborn children in danger,” SBA List State Policy Director Sue Liebel said. “Abortion activists’ longtime wish has been to turn every post office and pharmacy into an abortion center. They promote abortion drugs as easy, painless and private. Science says otherwise.”