MifeREMSupdate2

The abortion pill is very safe and very effective. The FDA already permits patients to take it at home on their own, and medical experts overwhelmingly agree it’s safe to get by mail or at pharmacies. So why is the FDA still forcing women to travel to pick up abortion pills in-person just to take them at home — with no health benefit and big risks?

Politics. Anti-abortion politicians are trying to push abortion care out reach every way they can. Now — as we’re staring down a Supreme Court fight that could further dismantle the right to abortion for many — the FDA must lift medically unnecessary restrictions on the abortion pill, so patients can get the pill at home.

Throughout the country, patients are turning to telehealth appointments and online pharmacies for routine medical care in order to maintain physical distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak. But the FDA still requires patients to pick up mifepristone (the first of two medications used together to terminate a pregnancy) from designated clinics and doctors’ offices in person — even though the FDA permits patients to wait until they get home to swallow the pill, and the abortion itself always takes place at home. Mifepristone is the only drug that FDA treats this way, even as it has suspended in-person requirements on far less safe drugs during the pandemic.

The FDA should follow science — not politics.

The FDA’s politically motivated, medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone go against its safety record and have long harmed patients’ health by delaying or blocking access to medication abortion.  

We’re calling on the FDA to permanently lift these restrictions and let pregnant people receive the abortion pill through the mail so that they can get the pill where they take the pill — at home!

TAKE ACTION

2020 09 FDA Mife Protest (1)
Add Your Name!

You can add your voice by signing the petition to the FDA today. Tell the FDA to let us get the abortion pill where we take the abortion pill — at home!

Get The Pill Video Screenshot
Learn About the FDA's Restrictions

Our animated video tells the story of the FDA’s politically motivated, medically unnecessary restrictions on the abortion pill.

Updates

Supreme Court Reinstates FDA Rule Limiting Access to the Abortion Pill

On January 13, 2021, the Trump-packed Supreme Court voted 6-3 to reinstate the requirement that pregnant people travel to a certified facility simply to pick up abortion pills in person, even though the FDA permits them to take their pills at home. In July 2020, a federal judge had temporarily blocked the rule during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the undue burden it places on people who need abortion care.

The Court’s decision allows the FDA rules to stay in effect while the lower courts debate the merits of the case. It is one of the last acts in the Trump administration’s attack on reproductive health, and will impose the worst consequences on people of color and low-income people, who already face a disproportionate impact from the pandemic.

But we don't have to let this decision stand. The Biden-Harris administration must take action to suspend in-person requirements for mifepristone, making the rules for medication abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic consistent with the steps FDA has taken to reduce coronavirus exposure for all other drugs.

We also call on the Biden-Harris administration to undertake a systemic review of all components of the FDA’s restrictions and permanently remove any restrictions that are not medically necessary.

Until the FDA affirmatively and definitively strikes this rule from its policies, the Supreme Court's anti-abortion majority will continue to block access.

Stay vigilant. Stay informed. Stay safe. The NWHN will continue to bring you up-to-the-minute developments on this issue.

The FDA tried to ignore you so we took your names to the FDA!

Since the NWHN’s founding 45 years ago, we have worked with Republican commissioners and Democratic ones, but we’ve never before seen an FDA commissioner that was so afraid of an issue that they wouldn’t even respond at all. With lives on the line, we weren’t going to let the FDA ignore us. On September 28, 2020 — the 20th anniversary of FDA’s approval of the abortion pill — we held a socially distanced protest in front of FDA headquarters to deliver the names of all 12,000+ of you who have signed thus far. It looks like we got their attention!

Resources

HuffPost: How Politics and Bureaucracy Halted the Promise of the Abortion Pill

September 28, 2020. On the 20th anniversary of the FDA’s approval of medication abortion, the NWHN’s Cindy Pearson was interviewed by The Huffington Post about her experience advocating for mifepristone in the ’90s and how we’re still haunted by restricted access as a result of FDA’s early fears around anti-abortion violence and political backlash.

Rewire: The Next Big Anti-Abortion Fight: Keeping You From Having an Abortion at Home

July 22, 2020. The NWHN’s Cindy Pearson warns that “some form of some interference—or ‘wink-wink’ implied interference—is preventing the FDA from making a science-based decision. But the restrictions have been political from the start. They were political then, and they’re political now.”

Statement: NWHN applauds Court order allowing patients to receive medication abortion pills by mail during COVID emergency

July 14, 2020. The NWHN applauds the recent decision by District Court Judge Theodore Chuang to allow pregnant people to receive medication abortion care through telehealth, including receiving mifepristone through the mail. However, the court’s order will only last as long as the Department of Health and Human Services determines that the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency.

Article: Lift Unnecessary Restrictions – Access to Medication Abortion During the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 1, 2020. The NWHN’s Isabelle Chaudry writes on the dangerous risks during the pandemic outlining why the FDA should lift the REMS on medication abortion. She also discusses how the FDA and state restrictions put patients and others at risk for COVID-19 transmission or worse.

Ms. Magazine: Feminist Multi-Front Battle to End FDA’s Abortion Pill Restriction

May 20, 2020. In-depth coverage of the NWHN’s #MailTheAbortionPill campaign in Ms. Magazine.

Article: The FDA’s Convoluted Stance on Abortion Pills Doesn’t Protect Patients — It Endangers Them

May 8, 2020. The NWHN’s Sarah Christopherson writes about the contradictions baked into FDA’s current stance. The feds say pregnant people can meet with their doctors remotely and have their abortion at home — but first, they must travel during a global pandemic just to pick up their pills.

The Hill: The UK allows home use of the abortion pill — the US should do the same

April 27, 2020. The NWHN’s Cindy Pearson and former FDA Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health (and former NWHN board member) Susan Wood write that the U.K. protected the health of patients using early medication abortion weeks ago. The FDA must lift its restrictions and protect medication abortion patients in the United States now. Every day makes a difference.

Orgs to FDA: Permit Pregnant People to Get the Abortion Pill Where They Have Their Abortion — at Home!

April 6, 2020. The National Women’s Health Network led a diverse coalition of over 80 organizations in urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to lift medically unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion which put pregnant people and clinics at risk during the COVID-19 outbreak. See our letter and press release HERE.

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