From abortion proposals appearing on several state ballots during November's midterm elections to pharmacies refusing to fill prescriptions of medications that could be used to terminate a pregnancy, the back-and-forth between abortion access has remained constant since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
Now, the Food and Drug Administration is banging the gavel, finalizing a rule to expand access to abortion pills at both brick-and-mortar and online pharmacies.
The FDA's labeling of abortion medication was restricted for more than two decades and limited dispensing to specific specialty clinics and offices. The new ruling brings changes to vetting and labeling, giving large chains and mail-order companies the ability to fill abortion-pill prescriptions, once they are certified.
Still, as abortion laws are left to individual states to determine, the ruling doesn't guarantee access to patients in all 50 states. "Although the FDA's announcement today will not solve access issues for every person seeking abortion care, it will allow more patients who need mifepristone for medication abortion additional options to secure this vital drug," the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in a statement.
In line with the FDA's alterations, the Justice Department said the U.S. Postal Service can continue to deliver prescribed abortion medication by mail. The Justice Department's opinion "specifies that the mailing of those drugs to a particular jurisdiction that may significantly restrict access to an abortion is not a sufficient basis" for the postal service to refuse delivery to them, the post office said.