For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 18, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, a coalition of reproductive rights, health, and justice groups sent petitions signed by over 200,000 supporters and a letter signed by 55 organizations asking the Biden-Harris administration to take immediate action to expand access to medication abortion.
“Medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone endanger the health and well-being of Americans who need timely access to medication abortion care,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “At a time when reproductive freedom and the legal right to abortion and abortion access face unyielding attacks, the Biden-Harris administration must take immediate action to roll back these harmful barriers to ensure that reproductive freedom is a reality for every body.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America joined with The EMAA Project, The American Civil Liberties Union, and other partners to submit petitions from a combined group of over 200,000 supporters calling on the Biden-Harris administration to take immediate action to lift harmful restrictions on mifepristone, a safe and effective medication used for early abortion and miscarriage care. The coalition of reproductive rights, health, and justice organizations is calling for immediate suspension of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone during the pandemic, as well as a full review of the FDA’s outdated and unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone.
The FDA subjects mifepristone—a prescription medication that has been FDA-approved for more than two decades—to a unique and onerous set of restrictions, including a requirement that patients travel in-person to a clinical setting just to pick up the pill and sign a form, even when they will be receiving no medical services at that time. Of more than 20,000 FDA-regulated drugs, mifepristone is the only one that patients must pick up in a clinical setting even though they are permitted to take it outside of a clinic setting and at the location of their choice.
This in-person pick-up requirement is forcing people to risk unnecessary exposure to COVID-19 in order to access essential healthcare and disproportionately impacts people of color and people with low incomes, who have been harmed most severely by the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy was suspended for six months during the pandemic due to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of SisterSong, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and other leading medical organizations. But in January, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to reinstate the policy, despite record-breaking COVID-19 cases. Reproductive rights, health, and justice groups are now calling on the Biden-Harris administration to immediately suspend enforcement of the mifepristone in-person requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with FDA’s actions regarding other drugs during the pandemic.
This coalition of organizations is also calling for the FDA to conduct a comprehensive review of the full set of restrictions on mifepristone to ensure that, even after the pandemic, patients are not forced to navigate unnecessary barriers that push care out of reach. Although FDA acknowledged in 2016 that mifepristone’s safety and efficacy are now “well-established,” the agency has retained the same severe restrictions it first imposed on mifepristone in 2000.
The FDA’s restrictions on mifepristone have long been opposed by leading medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
A full list of signatories to the letter can be found below:
American Civil Liberties Union
Advocates for Youth
All* Above All
American Medical Student Association
American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)
Catholics for Choice
Center for Reproductive Rights
CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equity)
Ibis Reproductive Health
If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
International Women’s Health Coalition
Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health
Jewish Women International
Just The Pill
Medical Students for Choice
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Council of Jewish Women
National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
National Health Law Program
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice
National Network of Abortion Funds
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women’s Health Network
National Women’s Law Center
Not Without Black Women
Physicians for Reproductive Health
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Population Connection Action Fund
Power to Decide
Raising Women’s Voices
SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health
Union for Reform Judaism
URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
VA NOW, Inc
Women of Reform Judaism
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.