On the other side, the increased interest in online access for abortion pills is a nightmare for anti-abortion advocates. Anti-abortion activists have been warning that the FDA approved medication abortions in the 1990s. They fear the drug could make it too easy to end a pregnancy. George W. Bush, then-presidential candidate, warned that abortions would become more common if the abortion pill was made widely.
These warnings remained in place even after the pandemic. Marjorie Dannenfelser wrote that brick-and mortar facilities would be obsolete if the abortion lobby's ultimate dream is realized. She was writing in a Townhall column in which she criticizes the efforts of abortion-rights activists to prioritize abortion care in the stimulus package. Dannenfelser stated that the next frontier is to use internet and mail to ship abortion pills, thereby leveraging new technology and organizations to spread abortion across the country.
This is a growing fear. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration under the Biden administration indicated that it is looking to remove one of the major restrictions that prevent the distribution of one drug used in an abortion medication regimen. This was the requirement only doctors can give the pills.
After the Trump administration took action against Aid Access, one of the largest online providers, and some of their overseas pharmacies, it was a complete reversal. Social conservatives strongly supported the FDA and Health and Human Services Department taking action against online providers. With the new administration comes a change of policy.
They want it to seem as unscrupulous as buying a vitamin from CVS. Roger Severino is a prominent social conservative who was director of HHS Office for Civil Rights under the Trump administration. Severino argued that the economics of medication abortions are better for abortion providers. It is generally cheaper to perform abortions via a pill rather than by surgery.
Surgery can be expensive, with prices as high as $500 for abortions and medications that are often quite affordable at $400 to $500. Wells stated that she was inspired by the $7 price of pills in Ethiopia to promote access. These low prices can be found online if you're careful.
While pro-abortion-rights activists may use different terminology, they agree that medications that can be sent directly by mail to patients are more convenient and cost-effective. Wells stated that it is the 21st-century abortion. It used to be that a state had a number of clinics. Doctors and providers can now see patients via Zoom and rely upon the mail to deliver pills to their patients. It's a way of expanding access and spreading the word.
Last year, however, it was difficult to get that care. There were legal restrictions: The FDA and states enacted regulations that made it difficult to mail pills.
There were also disruptions to supply. Many medications were procured from India, which stopped exports in March 2020. Wells stated that the whole model was no more viable.
Mail delays are a problem, even if you're waiting for a new charger. But it can be a problem if you have to take your medication in the next few weeks.
According to American Academy of Family Physicians, the two drugs that are used to end a pregnancy can safely be administered until the end of 77 days. The complications did not increase after an England's National Health Service initiative to allow at-home abortions. Many conservatives believe that making drugs available to women, without the direct supervision of a doctor would allow them to misuse them, such as in later-term pregnancies, which could lead to potentially fatal side effects.
Severino explained that the reason for an in-person requirement was to ensure you had a qualified physician to monitor your health and treat any problems.
Advocates for abortion rights maintain that these fears are exaggerated. Some point out that self-managed abortions rose during the pandemic, with very few reports of side effects.
As lockdowns became more common, so did improvisations. Wells stated that we found providers in the U.S. who could prescribe misoprostol. Misoprostol can be used alone or in combination with mifepristone to help terminate a pregnancy. It is only half of the usual regimen. It was only a temporary solution.
Some doctors even allowed at-home abortions under certain circumstances, despite the FDA regulations. As long as they had control over the mailing and dispensing process, some doctors were able to send prescriptions via mail.