US: Abortion drugs made more widely available

Abortion pills will be available to obtain directly from pharmacies in the US following a significant regulatory change.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will allow the drug to be dispensed by brick-and-mortar pharmacies.

Before the change, mifepristone – used to kill a developing baby in the womb – had to be obtained directly from a doctor, or be prescribed via telemedicine and sent by post.

Slippery slope

The FDA’s latest update will allow pharmacies “to stock and dispense the drug” to pregnant women with a prescription.

However, pharmacies will not be able to distribute the drug in pro-life states where abortion is banned or laws require that patients get the pills directly from their doctors.

In 2021, the US Supreme Court reinstated federal rules that require the abortion pill to be dispensed in person by a qualified healthcare provider after they were temporarily suspended during the Covid pandemic.

But the FDA permanently removed those safeguards at the end of 2021, allowing abortion pills to once again be prescribed through telemedicine.


Across the UK, temporary regulations allowing women who are less than ten weeks pregnant to take abortion pills received through the post became permanent last year.

Women have spoken out about the dangers, including inadequate checks during telephone consultations, controlling partners and medical and emotional trauma.

Also see:

Serious safety concerns remain over ‘abortion by post’ scheme

MPs vote to make DIY abortions permanent in England

Baby dies after mother takes abortion pill at 30 weeks

DIY abortions endanger young people, warns child health chief

Mythbuster: DIY abortion pills are neither simple nor safe

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