Washington D.C., Aug 20, 2021 / 13:02 pm (CNA).
A move to eliminate the in-person requirement for medical abortions and to allow abortion pills to be distributed through the mail will harm women and only serve corporate interests, says one pro-life activist.
Four members of the US House of Representatives submitted a resolution Aug. 19 to eliminate the requirement that a woman seeking to abort her pregnancy be in the presence of a medical professional.
“One again, big business is putting profit ahead of people,” Kristen Day, president of Democrats for Life, told CNA.
Day said the proposed resolution “will provide further harm to women and allow the well-funded abortion lobby to line their pockets at the expense of women’s health and safety.”
Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) say their resolution is “in support of equitable, science-based policies governing access to medication abortion care.”
Day disagreed, telling CNA that “Women deserve compassion, support, and alternatives to abortion, not medical abortions by mail leaving them isolated and unprotected from medical emergencies.”
About 70 other House Democrats have signed on in support of the resolution.
The resolution comes months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that they would be investigating whether to change how the abortion pill mifepristone is distributed.
In an April 12 letter from the acting commissioner of the FDA to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the FDA announced it would “exercise enforcement discretion” on its regulations of the abortion pill.
Acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock said she would allow for the abortion pill regimen to be prescribed remotely and sent to women through the mail or through a mail-order pharmacy.
“Further, to the extent all of the other requirements of the Mifepristone REMS Program are met, CDER intends to exercise enforcement discretion during the COVID19 PHE with respect to the dispensing of mifepristone through the mail either by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber, or through a mail-order pharmacy when such dispensing is done under the supervision of a certified prescriber,” Woodcock wrote at the time.
A full investigation into mifepristone was announced in May.
Since 2000, the FDA had placed the abortion pill regimen on its REMS list, or “Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy.” The list is reserved for higher-risk drugs and procedures, and under the regimen, the abortion pill could only be prescribed in-person by a certified prescriber in a health clinic setting.
In 2020, the Trump administration was sued by various pro-abortion groups due to the continued classification of mifepristone on the FDA’s REMS list. At the time, they claimed that the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic should result in a loosening of these restrictions. This meant that the drug could be mailed to a woman, who would then take it while on a video call with a medical professional.
In July 2020, Judge Theodore Chuang of the Maryland district placed an injunction on the FDA regulations during the pandemic. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled in the Trump administration’s favor by reversing Chuang’s injunction in a 6-3 decision.
Since then, states and courts have engaged in a battle over whether or not to keep the practice of “telemedicine” abortion legal.