On July 13th, a federal judge in Maryland suspended a FDA rule that requires people seeking medication abortion care to visit a hospital or clinic in-person to obtain mifepristone, one of two medications used in a medication abortion. This ruling allows providers around the country to mail or directly deliver mifepristone to patients during the pandemic. RHAP celebrates this ruling as essential to ensuring abortion access for all during this public health emergency, especially for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), people living in rural areas, and people living in poverty, who are most heavily impacted by attempts to restrict abortion care.
The FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) on mifepristone, like requiring in-clinic patient visits, are medically unnecessary and pose as obstacles to abortion care access. We applaud the ACLU, NYSAFP, and all the activists who made this ruling possible. However, we know the fight to expand access to mifepristone is far from over. The REMS restrictions on mifepristone need to be suspended permanently and must also be lifted for people seeking to manage their early pregnancy loss.
For more information on reproductive care during the COVID-19 pandemic and guidance on how to provide medication abortion via telemedicine, check out https://www.reproductiveaccess.org/covid19/, our resources supporting reproductive health care providers during this time.
This article was written by our summer intern, Vishu Chandrasekhar. Vishu is supported by the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program.