Democratic representatives, including Carolyn Maloney, N.Y., and Ayanna Pressley, Mass., are pressuring the government to remove restrictions that require the dispensing of abortion drugs in-person at certain medical facilities.
Maloney and Pressley wrote an op-ed in Elle this week explaining a letter they sent urging the Food and Drug Administration to lift the requirement on mifepristone, which is a prescription drug that has been used to terminate early pregnancies.
The Democratic congresswomen of the House Oversight Committee argue that people seeking the drug during the pandemic have been forced to put themselves in “harm’s way” in order to obtain it, even though the FDA has relaxed dispensing requirements for several other drugs.
Beyond having to go into a doctor’s office, the pair noted that there are several other economic inequities exploited by the process that would be addressed by allowing mifepristone to be obtained more easily.
“Under these restrictions, someone seeking an abortion … would also need to potentially take off work, seek childcare, and travel to attend their appointment,” the article reads. “These restrictions take economic privilege to overcome and further entrench long standing health inequities.”
Maloney and Pressley said that of the more than 20,000 drugs under the FDA’s purview, mifepristone is the only one that patients are able to self-administer unsupervised that they are required to obtain in person at a medical facility.
Therefore, the Democratic lawmakers say the requirement is nothing more than “a thinly veiled attempt to stigmatize safe, simple abortion care.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists asked a federal court to order the FDA to suspend the requirement during the pandemic last year, which it did. But the Trump administration followed up with the Supreme Court, which issued a stay on the injunction of the in-person dispensing rule last month.
In addition to Maloney and Pressley, a number of other lawmakers signed on to the letter sent to the FDA, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Cori Bush, D-Mo., and Jackie Speier, D-Calif..