The US Supreme Court has approved the overturning of coronavirus measures allowing DIY abortion pills to be delivered by post.
In July, a judge in Maryland suspended the need for “in-person” attendance at a hospital, clinic or medical office, claiming that it imposed an “undue burden” on women during the pandemic.
But the country’s most senior justices, by a vote of 6-3, have now reinstated federal rules that require the abortion pill Mifeprex to be dispensed in person by a qualified healthcare provider.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Mifeprex “is only available to be dispensed in certain healthcare settings” and must only be used within “70 days or less since the first day of the last menstrual period”.
Healthcare providers must be certified to dispense the abortion pill, and be able to “date pregnancies accurately and to diagnose ectopic pregnancies”.
The rules also state: “Healthcare providers must be able to ensure that women have access to medical facilities for emergency care, and must agree to other responsibilities, including reviewing and signing the Patient Agreement Form”.
A number of adverse reactions to taking the drug are highlighted by the FDA, alongside the warning: “As of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000”.
In September, 20 senators wrote to the FDA raising concerns about the district court’s order “eliminating the in-person requirements”.
They wrote that “by demedicalizing and deregulating the abortion pill, women will be left to engage in a form of ‘DIY’ chemical abortion, as the abortion industry collects payments, and as prescribers evade all legal risk and FDA oversight”.
the abortion pill has taken more than 3.7 million preborn lives
It continued: “According to FDA reporting, the abortion pill has taken more than 3.7 million preborn lives, caused 24 maternal deaths, and resulted in at least 4,195 adverse maternal reactions including hemorrhage, excruciating abdominal pain, and severe life-threatening infections.”
In order to “protect vulnerable women and children”, the Senators urged the FDA to remove “this deadly drug” from the US market and declare it to be an “imminent hazard to public health”.