x
Breaking News
More () »

FDA approves abortion pills by mail but they're illegal in Texas

The decision is the latest shift in the polarized legal battle over medication abortion, which has only intensified amid the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The Food and Drug Administration is loosening some restrictions on where women can obtain abortion pills, including a long-standing requirement that the medication be picked up in person.

Officials said Thursday that a scientific review supported broadening access and allowing more pharmacies - including mail-order services - to distribute the medication. 

But prescribing will still be limited to doctors who complete special certification. Additionally, the agency said dispensing pharmacies will have to be registered with the agency.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott signs bill tightening restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs

The decision is the latest shift in the polarized legal battle over medication abortion, which has only intensified amid the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 It is certain to spur legal challenges and restrictions in Republican-led states amid the ongoing battle over abortion. 

 Earlier this the year the FDA stopped enforcing the in-person dispending requirement because of the pandemic. Under Thursday’s decision, the agency will permanently drop the rule, which has long been opposed by medical societies and pro-abortion groups.

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill tightening restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs back in September. It went into effect on Dec. 1.

Senate Bill 4 prohibits a person "from providing an abortion‑inducing drug to a pregnant woman without satisfying the applicable informed consent requirements for abortions." It requires doctors to comply with reporting requirements.

“The new law that went into effect in December essentially says that women cannot get the abortion pill via telemedicine or by mail," KHOU 11 legal analyst Carmen Rowe said. "And that any prescriber who sends any abortion pills or does telemedicine with anyone in Texas is committing a felony."

Rowe says we can expect to see challenges to the current Texas law in court. She expects the state will argue a telemedicine appointment is not adequate to insure proper patient care.

“The issue is whether or not you’re telling the truth and they have good information about how far along you are in your pregnancy, and the safety risk that might be specific to an individual person,” Rowe said.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out