Medication abortion, also known as the abortion pill, is safe and effective and commonly used up to 10-11 weeks of pregnancy. Currently, federal and state regulations limit how medication abortion pills can be given and who can provide them, making it harder for people to access them. ANSIRH is researching new ways of providing medication abortion care using telehealth, at pharmacies, by mail, and other ways, so that people can have more control and autonomy over their abortion experience.
Medication abortion is a safe, noninvasive, and effective way to end a pregnancy. It makes up about one in three abortions in the United States. This method typically involves two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, and is commonly used up to 10-11 weeks of pregnancy. Medication abortion has potential to be accessible outside of clinic settings and offer people more control and autonomy over their abortion experience. Evidence shows that it is safe to take both medicines at home, and many individuals prefer it that way.
However, outdated regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require that mifepristone be dispensed only at a medical office, clinic, or hospital, which means they have to stock the medication in their offices. The regulations also require that clinicians who want to provide medication abortion register with the drug’s distributor and that people taking mifepristone first sign a patient-agreement form. All of these restrictions keep medication abortion care of out of reach for many across the country, despite a track record of safety and effectiveness. A group of experts, including ANSIRH researchers, are calling on the FDA to eliminate these burdensome requirements.
ANSIRH researchers are also investigating new ways to provide medication abortion pills and care, such as via telemedicine, pharmacy access, by mail, or if you’re a university student, at a campus health center.