On January 12th the Supreme Court of the United States, in its first abortion ruling with Justice Barrett on the bench, reinstated the FDA’s onerous in-person requirements for dispensing mifepristone, a medication critical in providing medication abortion and managing early pregnancy loss. As a result, people seeking medication abortion will again be forced to travel to a health center — even as COVID-19 infections and deaths continue to soar — putting themselves, their families, and health care providers at needless risk for absolutely no medical reason. This reinstatement is particularly harmful to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), people with low incomes, those living in rural areas, and people who are undocumented.
The over-regulation of mifepristone can be fixed by the incoming presidential administration. The new administration will be able to allow patients to receive mifepristone by mail throughout this pandemic so that patients do not have to risk unnecessary virus exposure as a condition of accessing care. Additionally, the Biden-Harris administration can initiate a comprehensive FDA review of current restrictions on mifepristone so that access to the medication both during and beyond the pandemic is based on science and clinical evidence, not politics.
The Reproductive Health Access Project has long advocated for expanding access to mifepristone. Removing the politically motivated regulations on mifepristone is an important step to ensure abortion care and early pregnancy loss care are available to everyone who needs it. The ruling by SCOTUS is a step backward for health, science, and our communities. Everyone should be able to access the abortion care they need, without burden, obstacle, or stigma. RHAP is part of a broad reproductive health/rights/justice coalition advocating that the new administration direct to review the mifepristone regulation and modify them to best reflect scientific evidence and real-world use.