Under Biden’s new policy, patients are now allowed to be prescribed and sent an abortion pill without the need for an in-person doctor’s appointment.
Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acting commissioner Janet Woodcock said that patients in need of abortion of early pregnancy will be able to access mifepristone, by mail.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)—which has been advocating for the FDA to make it easier for patients to get the medication — said that the announcement means women will no longer have to risk the dangers of coronavirus exposure to themselves.
“ACOG has long advocated for the @US_FDA to drop the burdensome in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone, which provides no benefit to patients,” ACOG tweeted. “We applaud the agency for prioritizing science over politics.”
This decision reverses another restriction from Trump that attempted to restrain access to termination medication.
In a statement, Woodcock cited multiple studies that prove the medication poses little risk to pregnant women who choose not to attend an in-person doctor’s appointment.
Woodcock said that doctors prescribe the medication over the phone before it is sent to them by mail.
“Now, thanks to the FDA’s intent to exercise discretion in enforcing the in-person dispensing requirement, those in need of an abortion will be able to do so safely and effectively by acquiring mifepristone through the mail—just as they would any other medication with a similarly strong safety profile,” ACOG said in a statement.
“We are pleased to see mifepristone regulated on the basis of the scientific evidence during the pandemic, rather than political bias against comprehensive reproductive health care, and we look forward to working with policymakers to ensure this principle governs post-pandemic care.”
Meanwhile, other pro-choice groups also welcomed the FDA’s decision.
“Finally we’re doing what is best for women,” NOW Columbia, an organization that advocates for women’s rights have said. “Let’s make this access permanent.”
However, pro-life groups have strongly criticized the policy, saying that it will cause a ‘catastrophic loss of life by mail’.
“The Biden Administration makes a catastrophic loss of life by mail its legacy in choosing to weaken the minimal health and safety in place to protect women from the deadly consequences of Chemical Abortion Pills,” the group Students for Life said in a statement.
“Sending deadly pills through the mail without any pre-screening or follow up care is convenient and cost-effective for Corporate Abortion, but women will pay the price along with countless preborn infants.”