FDA clears abortion pills for sale at retail pharmacies

Mifepristone is the first of a two-drug cocktail for a pill-induced abortion.

Published: January 3, 2023 7:14pm

Updated: January 3, 2023 7:45pm

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced a regulatory change that will allow major pharmacy chains to offer certain abortion pills in their stores for the first time.

While purchasers will still need a prescription, they will now be able to procure mifepristone from many regular pharmacies, as opposed to the mail-order pharmacies or select clinics to which the agency previously limited its availability, according to the New York Times.

Mifepristone is the first of a two-drug cocktail for a pill-induced abortion. The second drug, misoprostol, is already available through a traditional prescription and is used to treat other conditions. The first drug blocks a necessary hormone for the pregnancy to advance while the second induces contractions necessary to expel materials from the uterus.

Such a regimen is currently the most popular means of terminating a pregnancy nationwide, per the outlet. The move marks a dramatic expansion in abortion access since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark precedent set in 1973's Roe v. Wade decision earlier this year, ending the constitutional guarantee for the procedure.

While major chains may opt not to carry mifepristone, it remains unclear whether they will do so. Such a decision is further complicated by the legal status of abortion in many states and ongoing disputes about the legality of such prescriptions in states that have banned the procedure.

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