Thanks in part to the pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has now approved RU-486, the abortion pill, for use by mail. This makes telemedicine abortions a reality, ensuring safer, easier access to abortion early in pregnancy. But pro-choice activists are increasingly, lobbying for even better access to combat new abortion restrictions. A new study shows that 83% of abortion seekers are now in favor of over-the-counter abortion. So could it become a reality? Here’s what you need to know.
Abortion Pill Safety
Side effects associated with the abortion pill are exceedingly low–akin to other over-the-counter drugs, with almost zero risk of long-term or serious side effects. This is why the FDA recently approved the abortion pill for telemedicine abortion via mail. The data show RU-486 is extremely safe, and that improving access to medication abortion may prevent late-term abortions and overcrowding at clinics.
Some people mistakenly believe the abortion pill is already available over the counter, thanks to the availability of Plan B, emergency contraception. Though often confused, Plan B and the abortion pill are not the same. You still need a prescription–and therefore a doctor’s appointment–to get the abortion pill.
An Over-the-Counter Abortion?
That could change, at least in some states. Reproductive choice advocates are increasingly pushing for over the counter availability of the abortion pill. It’s safe. It improves access. And it could counteract growing anti-choice pressure on the far right.
It’s not as unthinkable as it seems. Plan B was once controversial as an over the counter drug, but is now readily available in pharmacies across the country. The abortion pill should be next.