New year came with changes of regulations in the US, to expand abortion access. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on 3rd January that abortion pills will now be available in retail pharmacies.
“Under the Mifepristone REMS Program, as modified, Mifeprex and its approved generic can be dispensed by certified pharmacies or under the supervision of a certified prescriber,” the agency said.
Mifepristone is a medication that is used to end a pregnancy that works by blocking the hormone progesterone, which is necessary for the pregnancy to continue. Mifepristone is usually used in combination with another medication called misoprostol to induce abortion. The combination of mifepristone and misoprostol is effective in ending a pregnancy up to 10 weeks after the last menstrual period.
Prior to this announcement, Mifepristone was available only through a prescription from a healthcare provider and could only be dispensed by a few mail-order pharmacies or in person specially certified doctors or clinics. “Certified pharmacies must ensure mifepristone is dispensed to the patient in a timely manner,” reads the new rule.
As per reports, abortion pills already account for more than a half of pregnancy terminations in the US. However, women from more than a dozen states where abortion is banned, could potentially travel to other states to the medication.
While most abortions are now banned in at least 13 US states, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, there are currently 24 countries in the world where abortion is completely prohibited, including Andorra and Malta in Europe.