The Biden administration has officially OK’d women to obtain the medically dangerous abortion pill from their physician via mail, citing the COVID pandemic and women’s alleged limited access to abortion appointments and medical care as why miscarriage-inducing drugs can now be sent by USPS.
“In a letter sent Monday to two leading organizations representing reproductive health physicians, the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration said that the agency would temporarily stop enforcing its requirement that the first of two drugs needed to terminate an early pregnancy be dispensed in a medical clinic,” the New York Times reports.
Abortion supporters say restrictions that require women to visit a doctor in person to obtain the pill limit abortion access by forcing some women to drive long distances and take time off work for an appointment.
The pill that's been OK'd by mail, called mifepristone (also known as RU 486, or by the brand name Mifeprex), is the first of a two-medication series often given to women to electively abort their baby in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, when the child is still small enough to pass without surgical intervention. The first pill effectively kills the baby, while the second drug, called Misoprostol, induces a miscarriage that expels the (presumably) now-dead child from the mother’s uterus. The mother is often given the first pill to take at the clinic, and is then sent home with the second pill to take 36 to 72 hours later.
On its official government website, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned women against obtaining Mifeprex online from groups like Women on Web due to the dangerous of taking abortion-inducing drugs without the oversight of a physician:
You should not buy Mifeprex over the Internet because you will bypass important safeguards designed to protect your health (and the health of others).
Mifeprex has special safety restrictions on how it is distributed to the public. Also, drugs purchased from foreign Internet sources are not the FDA-approved versions of the drugs, and they are not subject to FDA-regulated manufacturing controls or FDA inspection of manufacturing facilities.
The new rule allowing the abortion pill to be distributed by mail flies in the face of a recent SCOTUS decision that affirmed the Trump administration’s right to deny the practice. Unde the Biden administration, physicians will now be able to prescribe mifepristone and send it to a patient via mail order after a simple telehealth consult. Pro-life advocates argue this will leave women vulnerable to being prescribed dangerous life-ending drugs without a thorough consultation with a doctor, which could help identify women with certain conditions that make these drugs far more dangerous.
Related: Irish Women Flock To Dangerous At-Home Abortion Pills
In general, but particularly in women with certain health conditions, the drugs carry a risk of blood clots, stroke, infection, sepsis, and even death. Many women who’ve taken the drugs and been left to miscarry alone at home have reported excruciating pain, blood loss, and trauma from the experience. The FDA added it has “received reports of serious adverse events in women who took Mifeprex,” including “one case of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal; and a single case of non-fatal heart attack.”