For Immediate Release: Thursday, August 19, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced a resolution in support of equitable, science-based medication abortion access policies. This resolution calls for policies that follow the scientific evidence and lift medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone, one of the medications used in medication abortion care.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Chief Campaigns and Advocacy Officer Christian LoBue released the following statement in response:
“For too long, medically unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion care have pushed access to the care people need out of reach. We are grateful to Reps. Maloney, Pressley, Lee, and DeGette for introducing this resolution and for their leadership in the fight to ensure access to medication abortion care is dictated by science, not outdated and unnecessary restrictions. At a moment when reproductive freedom is under attack like never before and access to medication abortion care is on the line, lifting these restrictions and expanding access is more important than ever.”
Medication abortion care is a safe, effective option for ending an early pregnancy that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over 20 years. Since the FDA approved mifepristone in 2000, it has been subject to a set of medically unnecessary restrictions now referred to as a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). Among these unnecessary restrictions is a requirement that forces people to travel to a hospital, clinic, or medical office to access medication abortion care.
Thanks to the tireless work of reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations, including NARAL, on April 13th, 2021, the FDA announced that it would follow the decades of scientific evidence and temporarily suspended enforcement of the restriction that forced people to travel in person to access medication abortion care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FDA later announced that it was initiating a comprehensive and evidence-based review of the full set of REMS on medication abortion care.
Research shows that medication abortion can safely and effectively be prescribed for use via telehealth. The medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement disproportionately harms 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.
Although proven to be safe and effective, politically motivated attacks on medication abortion care have ramped up on the state level during this legislative session. Just last week, the Texas legislature advanced restrictions attacking access to medication abortion care during the state’s second special session. These efforts to undermine access to care come just months before the Supreme Court is set to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case involving Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe v. Wade.
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.