The U.S. Food and Drug and Administration (FDA) is facing a deadline today to complete its review of a rule that requires mifepristone—also known as the abortion pill—to be dispensed only in person, by certain qualified medical providers.
Last April the FDA, citing COVID-19 concerns, temporarily suspended the in-person requirements. Many observers expect that the FDA will now permanently lift those restrictions, allowing for the possibility of “mail-order, do-it-yourself” abortions, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI).
In a fact sheet published last April, CLI cited a large-scale, multiyear study in Finland that found the complication rate for chemical abortions was four times higher than for surgical abortions. CLI has also warned that failure to perform a physical exam, ultrasound and labs before taking the abortion pill will increase the risk of serious health consequences for both the mother and the unborn child.
CLI published a study in November in the peer-reviewed journal Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology that found chemical abortion has a much higher rate of emergency room visits than surgical abortion.
“The safety of chemical abortion is greatly exaggerated,” said Dr. James Studnicki, CLI vice president of data analytics. “In fact, the increasing dominance of chemical abortion and its disproportionate contribution to emergency room morbidity is a serious public health threat, and the real-world data suggests the threat is growing.”
In a press release following the temporary lifting of in-person requirements, Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, commented: “The abortion pill is not medicine or healthcare. The abortion pill was created to kill children, has caused a catastrophic death toll and poses a serious threat to maternal health.”
Article update Dec. 17, 2021: As expected, the FDA announced that it will permanently remove the in-person requirement for the abortion pill, opening the way for the drug to be dispensed by mail. The agency added that it will require pharmacies dispensing the drug to be certified.
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