U.S. FDA to Permanently Allow Abortion Pills by Mail

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Dec. 16 that it is permanently allowing abortion pills to be sent by mail.

In a letter, the FDA said it was lifting a longstanding restriction that required mifepristone — one of the two medications used in a medication abortion — to be picked up in-person only in certain healthcare settings.

The decision paves the way for doctors to prescribe the drugs online and have them sent to local pharmacies or patients by mail.

Nonprofit organization Planned Parenthood called the move “a victory for public health and health equity” and  “long overdue.”

“The FDA followed the science in arriving at this decision. There is overwhelming evidence that medication abortion can be safely and effectively provided through telehealth,” Planned Parenthood President and Chief Executive Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also praised the move, but also said that it fell short for not removing a requirement that patients sign a special form to be prescribed mifepristone, as well as a requirement that healthcare professions be specially certified to prescribe it.

ACLU also said that the decision “did not come a moment too soon” as the Supreme Court is scrutinizing abortion access and states are passing bills to ban abortions.

“Today’s decision is critical progress, though far from complete,” Julia Kay, an attorney with the ACLU, said in a statement.

The move came after the FDA temporarily lifted restrictions last year during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow abortion seekers to obtain the pills by mail.

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