Access to abortion pills gets easier with new set of guidelines from the US FDAStephanie Stanton (Author) Published Date : Apr 01, 2016 15:25 ET
The guideline to access a pill to induce an abortion has been relaxed by the FDA. In the process, the new guideline also revives the abortion debate and one of its central issues. The new guidelines will allow women to access the drug and use it even after a confirmed pregnancy with the added advantage of fewer visits to the physician.
The announcement from the FDA on Wednesday was not quite expected, particularly at a time when the Obama administration is in its final stretch, and the election campaign is heating up. While some of the opponents of abortion claimed that the FDA decision was politically influenced, the FDA clarified that it was based purely on medical science.
On the other side, for the advocates of abortion rights, the FDA decision was reckoned as an unequivocal victory. Earlier, in many states, the doctors prescribing the pill were also required to follow directions laid out by the FDA, and these directions were more stringent.
With the changes now announced by the FDA, directions for taking the abortion pill are in tune with standard medical practices followed in many states. Further, the dosage has been reduced from 600 mg to 200 mg. Women using the pill will now make two visits to the doctor instead of the3 earlier prescribed. Similarly, women are now allowed to take the pill even in the 10th week of their pregnancy from the seven weeks limitation earlier.
The debate over the pill has been long drawn, and many abortion rights groups have been demanding access to the drug. Demand for abortions induced by medication has also been on the rise in recent years.
The drug blocks the progesterone receptors and progesterone is a hormone that is important in aiding pregnancy. Although women can now obtain the drug from a pharmacist or medical provider, the label still asks them to follow up with a doctor or health care provider. However, some advocates of abortion rights interpret the provision as a lab test or similar exercise which may not necessarily demand a visit to the doctor.
There was no immediate reaction available on how the new guidelines would impact state laws on the subject and how the anti-abortion groups would pursue their legal efforts in the future.
The chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Dr.Raegan McDonald Mosley added that the change eliminates the confusion among women who were required to sign two consent forms and make the process simpler.
Access to abortion pills gets easier with new set of guidelines from the US FDA