For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Washington, DC — Last night, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that the FDA will suspend enforcement of a restriction that forced people to travel to a hospital, clinic, or medical office to access medication abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Chief Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Christian LoBue released the following statement in response:
“The FDA’s decision is a meaningful step toward ensuring pregnant people can access medication abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The in-person dispensing restriction—which the Trump administration fought to keep in place during the pandemic—prioritized ideology over science and endangered the health and well-being of Americans. The unfortunate reality is that medication abortion care remains out of reach for many due to additional medically unnecessary and ideologically motivated restrictions. We must ensure that people can access the care that they need even after the pandemic ends. We are hopeful that the Biden administration will take further action to remedy this through a comprehensive FDA review of all restrictions on medication abortion—bringing us closer to a world where we all have the freedom to make our own decisions about our lives, our bodies, and our futures.”
Medication abortion care is a safe, effective, and FDA-approved option for ending an early pregnancy. Pregnant people should be able to have medication abortion prescribed by their healthcare provider and then be able to receive their medications in the way that makes the most sense for them, in consultation with their provider—whether that is at a health center, their local pharmacy, or delivered to their home.
The in-person dispensing restriction, suspended by the FDA for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, disproportionately harmed Black, Indigenous, and people of color; those in rural areas; and those with low incomes. These same communities are experiencing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of systemic racism and inequities that have produced disparities both in access to healthcare and healthcare outcomes.
Earlier this year, a coalition of reproductive health, rights, and justice groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, 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. The letter called for the immediate suspension of the FDA’s in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone during the pandemic, as well as a comprehensive review of the FDA’s outdated and unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone.
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.