From Ms Magazine
Last month, the Biden administration announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would undertake a review of longstanding restrictions on the medication mifepristone used for miscarriage and abortion care. The announcement followed an FDA decision in April to lift in-person dispensing requirements on mifepristone for the duration of the pandemic.
While many advocates celebrated these long-awaited and hard-fought-for achievements, others cautioned that lifting the FDA restrictions would not guarantee telemedicine abortion access for people in many states.
The reason is that 19 states require the clinician providing a medication abortion to be physically present when the medication is administered, thereby prohibiting the use of telemedicine to prescribe medication for abortion remotely. Even if the FDA restrictions were to be lifted, these state-level bans would still block telemedicine access to medication abortion in these states.
However, lifting federal restrictions on mifepristone is a key step toward challenging state telemedicine abortion bans. The FDA approved mifepristone for use in the U.S. in 2000, but due to intense anti-abortion pressure, the agency tightly restricted the medication under a drug safety program now called the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy or REMS.
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