Abortion pills aren’t a magic bullet for everyone

Gomperts insisted that accessing help is also legal and that the organization provides instructions for people in abortion-unfriendly states and countries that do not allow medical abortion to be ordered through foreign pharmacies. But this carries a risk, even if it now seems small. “To date, no one has been prosecuted simply for ordering abortion pills, getting a prescription online, or trying to get a prescription filled at a pharmacy,” If/When/How reports. “Nevertheless, evidence of online abortion pill purchases has been used against people charged with other crimes related to self-directed abortion.” In a 2013 case in Pennsylvania, for example, a woman was criminally charged for ordering mifepristone and misoprostol online for her daughter; she was reported to child protective services by medical staff at the hospital where she had taken her daughter for follow-up care.

In April, the Food and Drug Administration temporarily lifted a component of its Risk Assessment and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, that had prevented the mailing of mifepristone. Counseling and prescriptions for medical abortion thus became available via telehealth. Prager said lifting REMS altogether would have been more helpful, as it would open up the possibility of mifepristone being widely available in pharmacies, or possibly even over the counter, as is the case in other countries. (If mifepristone were available over-the-counter, Aid Access’ advance-supply model might really be common.) Yet when the FDA rule change became permanent in December, the media framed it as an expansion. key to reproductive rights.

But that expansion had already happened with the agency’s move in April. In clinics that had been offering medical abortions via telehealth for months, Prager said, the FDA announcement had no impact. Providers had already done this work; the FDA announcement just meant it could go on. It wasn’t a new burst of access, but media accounts made it seem so, as media outlets that rarely covered abortion carried the news.

Yes Roe vs. Wade reversed this summer, a similar distortion is likely to occur. Medical abortion can once again be touted as the key solution to gaps in care. And for some patients, it absolutely will. But for access to abortion to be truly expanded in a country that criminalizes poverty and pregnancy, system-level change is needed: change that extends beyond the contents of the medicine cabinets of the world. ‘Blue State’ and invites a wholesale reimagining of how we deal with the rights of pregnant women. people.

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