The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted on Thursday, December 16, one of the main restrictions on obtaining an abortion: from now on the pills will be able to be received by mail.
In the past, abortion pills were only available in person and with a prescription from a certified healthcare provider. The decision, which is permanent, confronts actions that seek to restrict access to abortion. In fact, the Supreme Court is considering reversing the right to abort that was a landmark ruling in 1973, Roe v. Wade, nationwide.
This FDA decision will not only make medication easier to get, but will help those women who need to have an abortion and live in states with restrictive laws. In many cases they must cross state lines to perform the procedure.
During the pandemic, the FDA had temporarily lifted the mandate to obtain the medication in person.
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that, in 2019, 42% of all abortions, and 54% of abortions performed before 10 weeks, had been through the use of medication.
The same report indicates that young adults, in their 20s, accounted for 56.9% of all abortions. The report was based on data from 47 states (California, Maryland, and New Hampshire are not represented in the report).
Of the total number of abortions, 79% were before 10 weeks of gestation.
How the abortion pill works
As Planned Parenthood explains, the abortion pill process has several steps and includes two different medications.
First, the woman takes a pill called mifepristone. This medicine stops the development of pregnancy. Some people feel nauseous or start bleeding after taking mifepristone, but this is not common.
The second medicine is called misoprostol and should be taken no more than 48 hours after taking the first pill. This medicine causes cramps and bleeding to empty the uterus.
For most people, cramping and bleeding usually start 1 to 4 hours after taking misoprostol. It is normal to see large blood clots (the size of a lemon) or clumps of tissue when this happens.
It’s like having a very heavy, crampy period, and the process is very similar to an early miscarriage. (If you do not bleed within 24 hours after taking the second medicine, misoprostol, call your healthcare provider.)
Cramps and bleeding can last for several hours. Most people finish shedding the pregnancy tissue in 4-5 hours, but it may take longer. Cramping and bleeding decrease after the pregnancy tissue comes out. Cramps may occur intermittently for 1 to 2 more days.
Pain relievers such as ibuprofen can be taken about 30 minutes before taking the second medicine, misoprostol, to relieve cramps. Aspirin should not be taken, because it can make you bleed more.
It is normal to have some bleeding and spotting for several weeks after the abortion. That is why it is convenient to have sanitary pads on hand.
You have to follow up with the doctor to confirm that the entire process of terminating the pregnancy worked well.
Pro-abortion groups applauded the FDA’s decision, while anti-abortion groups such as the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, part of the Heritage Foundation, raised concerns saying they believe less medical screening will put patients at greater risk. .
However, a study of 84,000 women who had abortions in Canada found that the strategy of receiving the pill by mail did not add risk, and, in fact, facilitated the decision and allowed to carry out a treatment in the privacy of the own home. The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.