Abortion pills made available in pharmacies in the U.S. by the FDA

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The FDA has declared that retailers can now carry and give out abortion medication to those in need of it the U.S. to people who have a prescription. Pharmacies can start applying for certification to distribute abortion pill mifepristone. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called the update an “important step” forward. As of Tuesday, the in-person requirement has been permanently removed. The changes included permanently removing restrictions on mail order shipping of the pills and their prescription through telehealth. Retail pharmacies will have to weigh whether or not to offer the pill. Mifeprex in combination with a second drug called misoprostol induces an abortion up to 10 weeks.

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“Today’s news is a step in the right direction for health equity,” Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement. On the opposite side, the president of anti-abortion group SBA Pro-Life America, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said the latest FDA move endangers women’s safety and the lives of unborn children. Medication abortion is used in more than half of abortions in the US, outpacing surgical procedures. The FDA says more than 3.7 million US women have used mifepristone since its approval. Several FDA-mandated safety requirements remain in effect, including training requirements to certify that prescribers can provide emergency care in the case of excessive bleeding.