What’s preventing our ability to order abortion pills online in the US? Politics.
The FDA’s warning letter to Aid Access telling them to stop sending abortion pills to the US is just the latest way that politics are suppressing access to these safe and effective pills.
On July 1st, 75 organizations, doctors, and researchers signed an open letter that stands behind the work of Aid Access and articulates something healthcare providers have known for a while: that right now in the United States, the risk involved with seeking a self-managed abortion is legal and not medical. Read the article on our blog here, and you can find all 3 original letters here (on Aid Access’ site).
So where did this all start?
The suppression started in the 1990s, when FDA approval of mifepristone (one of the abortion pills) was delayed for years, despite clear evidence of its safety and effectiveness.
Then, when mifepristone finally was approved in 2000, the FDA attached severe restrictions to its distribution by imposing a Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy, or REMS. The REMS make it hard for regular doctors to prescribe mifepristone and prohibit distribution through pharmacies. This means that the only place to get abortion pills is through specialized abortion clinics (which are scarce in many states, again due to politics.).
Now, despite calls from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other groups to remove the REMS and decades of data demonstrating that the pills are safe and effective—they are safer than Tylenol—the FDA still refuses to remove the REMS.
This is clearly politics trumping medical science, and those who need abortions are bearing the brunt of this overregulation and overmedicalization of abortion pills.
Meanwhile, around the world, millions of people are safely self-managing their abortions using these very same pills, obtained directly from pharmacies or through the internet.
Finally, the FDA claims that the product shipped by Aid Access “poses significant health risks to U.S. consumers?” Totally unfounded! Aid Access shipped good quality pills and research has demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of their online service delivery model.