Health officials said Tuesday that retail pharmacies in the United States would be allowed to offer abortion drugs. This follows last year’s historic Supreme Court decision that repealed federal abortion rights. The first of two medications used to end a pregnancy, mifepristone, will be accessible in neighborhood drug stores in states where abortion is legal thanks to regulatory changes announced by the Food and Drug Administration.
The medications, which were previously only accessible through a few mail-order pharmacies or licensed physicians and clinics, will require a prescription from a doctor. Since the Roe v. Wade judgment was landmarked by the conservative-dominated Supreme Court in June, Wade, a 1973 judgment that secured women’s access to an abortion for 50 years, there has been an increase in demand for abortion pills.
Experts estimate that more than half of US procedures to end pregnancies use abortion pills. Since the Supreme Court’s contentious decision, they have increasingly come into focus in the political and legal fight for abortion rights. To dispense the medication, pharmacies must be certified, and patients must fill out a consent form. The American Civil Liberties Union applauded the FDA’s decision.
“We are happy the FDA has increased pharmacy access to this safe and effective medication, relieving one of the agency’s needless burdens on mifepristone patients,” said Julia Kaye of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, criticized the ruling.
“The Biden administration has once again proved that it values abortion industry profits over women’s safety and unborn children’s lives,” Dannenfelser said in a statement.
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