“A new chapter in expanding rather than restricting access to safe abortion.”
Access to abortion pill, Misoprostol (commercially known as Mifeprex), will now be easier than ever for women across America, with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving new labelling for the drug on Wednesday, March 30th.
The label adjustment was put into place to reflect what scientific research shows is the most effective way to administer and use the drug. These have been the first changes since 2000.
The FDA now advises medical professionals to prescribe just 200mg of Mifepristone, rather than the 600mg stipulated in its original 2000 policy, and a higher dose of Misoprostol, the secondary drug used to expel the contents of the uterus after the Mifepristone takes effect. Furthermore, the FDA have instructed doctors can now prescribe the drug up to 70 days after patients’ last period, as opposed to the 49 day limit originally in place.
While some doctors have already been advising patients of this dosage for years, the changes coming into effect will override several state laws that have previously prevented many physicians from being able to make these recommendations.
Women living in the states of Ohio, Texas and North Dakota will notice the biggest changes, since these states have had legislation in place to make it harder for patients to access abortions via ensuring doctors stick to the outdated 2000 FDA agreement
Abortion care providing group, Whole Women’s Health CEO, Amy Hagstrom Miller is ecstatic about the changes.
“We are thrilled that the updated FDA labeling reflects evidence-based care that is best for women… People who visit our clinic deserve options for abortion care without worrying about medically unnecessary obstacles and this change allows for more women to get the care they deserve.”
And it’s not just pro-choice groups who are celebrating the changes. Mifepristone accounts for 23 per cent of all non-surgical abortions and after being used by over 2.75 million women, physicians and medical practitioners around the country who have seen the positive effect of the drug are also showing their support as they aim to protect women from the shame and stigma that so often surrounds the topic.
“We applaud the FDA for recognizing the safety of medication abortion and the voluminous research that shows evidence-based regimens are beneficial to patients… I hope that today marks a new chapter in expanding rather than restricting access to safe abortion, providing women with access to the best modern medical care for their reproductive health needs,” said board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, Nancy Stanwood.
However this change, which comes as a slap in the face to anti-abortion groups, has sparked massive outrage, particularly in the aforementioned states. National Right to Life director of education and research, Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D, was quick to speak out against the FDA and its new guidelines for Misoprostol.
“Certainly, none of the modifications is of any benefit to the unborn child…it is obvious that the FDA’s new protocol serves only the interests of the abortion industry by expanding their base of potential customers, increasing their profit margin, and reducing the level of staff and amount of resources they have to devote to the patient.”
Yet not only is Mifeprostone extremely safe and drastically cheaper – approximately $483USD compared with $1500USD for surgical abortions – research published in Obstetrics & Gynecology back in 2014 shows the restrictions Ohio, Texas and North Dakota have had in place, which include a mandatory ultrasound, have zero effect on the patient’s decision-making process. Meaning, even after all the additional processes required to go through to access medical treatment, those who were looking to terminate their pregnancy still did so.
The new changes essentially eradicate these additional hoops, allowing patients to get the treatment they need after just one clinical visit, which is a significant step forward for pro-choice advocates everywhere.
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