Senate Dems Criticize Biden Admin For Discouraging Abortion Pill Prescriptions Before Pregnancy

by | Nov 3, 2022 | Politics

The Food and Drug Administration is reportedly warning against allowing people access to abortion pills before they become pregnant — a move that Senate Democrats are not happy with.After a turbulent summer that saw the repeal of federal abortion protections, advance provision of medication abortion has become increasingly important. The prescribing method allows physicians to provide abortion pills before pregnancy, making the medication easier to obtain in a country where over a dozen states have near-total abortion bans in effect.AdvertisementDemocratic senators told HuffPost that the FDA warning is in stark contrast to promises by President Joe Biden’s administration to do whatever it could to protect access to abortion after the fall of Roe v. Wade. In June, the Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 ruling, which afforded federal protections to abortion care in the U.S.“Abortion rights are under attack by extremist Republicans nationwide, and the Biden administration must do everything in its power to protect these rights, including by ensuring access to medication abortion,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told HuffPost. “Policymakers should follow the science, not impose unnecessary political restrictions to reproductive health care.”Medication abortion involves the combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol. They’re widely used for miscarriage and abortion care across the country, accounting for about 60% of all abortions in the U.S. in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. When used together, mifepristone and misoprostol are more than 95% effective and safer than Tylenol.Although the FDA approved the use of medication abortion up until 10 weeks of pregnancy, the World Health Organization says it can be safely used until 12 weeks. Generally, mifepristone has a shelf life of about five years, and misoprostol around two years.AdvertisementSeveral U.S.-based telemedicine providers, as well as in-person providers, recently started offering advance provision of abortion pills so that people could easily obtain the medication if they experienced an unwanted pregnancy. Aid Access, a Netherlands-based organization, started offering advance provision earlier — when Texas’ six-week abortion ban went into effect in the fall of 2021. Allowing people to store abortion pills in their medicine cabinets expands access to care in a way that the U.S. has never seen before. Physicians and experts have been calling for looser restrictions around the drugs since the FDA first approved them in 2000 because research shows that medication abortions are incredibly safe and effective. An FDA spokesperson told Politico last week that the agency was concerned that making the medication widely available before pregnancy could prohibit physicians from providing care and ensuring effectiveness throughout an abortion.The FDA did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. The agency should be prioritizing scientific evidence, especially in this critical moment, Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) told HuffPost. “Every day we are seeing the intended consequences of Republicans’ crusade against women’s reproductive freedoms: national chaos that has restricted access to critically important reproductive health care,” said Smith, who has pushed several bills to protect access to medication abortion. “I have always said that the FDA should follow the science and evidence to preserve access to medication abortion and will continue fighting to protect what remaining access to reproductive health care exists.”AdvertisementHistorically, the FDA has tightly regulated mifepristone. The agency loosened restrictions aro …

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