Thursday, July 25, 2024

Abortion Pills Can Now Be Offered at Pharmacies

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You may soon be able to get abortion pills at a nearby pharmacy, thanks to a regulatory change made by the Food and Drug Administration. In a win for reproductive rights, the change could expand access to abortion in a post-Roe America.

Before the FDA change, which was not officially announced but reflected in a change on the organization’s website, the abortion pill mifepristone could only be dispensed through specific mail-order pharmacies or (before a pandemic-era rule change to allow for telehealth), through in-person visits to specially certified doctors and clinics, leading to gaps in access. Now, the FDA will allow pharmacies that agree to certain rules to dispense the medication, though a prescription will still be required.  

Abortion pills can be used to induce abortion within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, according to the FDA. They are safe and effective — Kecia Gaither, MD, an OB/GYN told Teen Vogue that 93 to 98 percent of people who use abortion pills don’t need follow-up medical treatments. Experts have long been calling for fewer regulations on how abortion pills are dispensed, citing their safety for at-home use. Medication abortion actually consists of two pills — first mifepristone and then misoprostol – which are generally taken within 48 hours of each other; the former blocks the hormones needed to carry a pregnancy and the latter induces contractions to expel the tissue in your uterus. (Misoprostol was already more readily available via prescription.)

In a statement, Planned Parenthood President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson said “today’s news is a step in the right direction for health equity… and will help millions of people who have more access to the care they need, when they need it.”

Despite the change in FDA regulations, it’s not yet clear how pharmacies will react to this regulatory change. The New York Times reported that “in states where abortion remains legal, pharmacies may face customer demand for the medication or public pressure from abortion rights advocates and health providers. National chains could decide to offer the medication in [some] states while not providing it in their stores in restrictive states.”

This story originally appeared on

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