FDA lifts in-person medication abortion regulation

Abortion rights activists rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo by Robin Bravender.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted regulations on medication abortion drugs, the subject of an Ohio court challenge.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists had been advocating for the remove of an in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone, a two-drug treatment used in medication abortions.

The FDA recently halted enforcement of that dispensing requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic, which ACOG said is the agency “recognizing and responding to the available evidence.”

“Moreover, mifepristone itself has demonstrated, through both clinical study and decades of use, to be safe, effective medication,” said ACOG president Dr. Eva Chalas and CEO Dr. Maureen Phipps in a statement. “Requiring the medicine to be dispensed in person, then taken elsewhere at the patients’ discretion, is arbitrary and does nothing to bolster the safety of an already-safe medicine.”

The medicine is part of a constitutional challenge Ohio’s Planned Parenthood clinics and the ACLU have mounted against the state.

A Hamilton County judge blocked a law from being implemented that would ban the use of telemedicine in medication abortion, and put doctors at risk for felony charges.

The state and the health clinics are set to be back in court on April 19 for a more longterm ruling.

Abortion is legal in Ohio up to 22 weeks gestation.

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