FDA Sounds The Alarm On Doctors Prescribing Abortion Pills Before Pregnancy

Since the overturning of Roe V. Wade back in June, demand for multiple forms of birth control has increased due to lack of access to abortion for many Americans and due to a fear that protection for various types of birth control could at some point also be up for political debate (via CNN). People have shown an increased interest in purchasing the morning after pill, in discussing IUDs and other forms of birth control with their doctors, and there has even been an increase in vasectomies

Now, the FDA is expressing concern about doctors prescribing another type of medication to their patients who are worried about tightening restrictions on abortion: abortion pills (via CNN). Specifically, the governing body is concerned about doctors prescribing the abortion-inducing medication to patients who are not yet pregnant, as patients might later use the pills without direct supervision and care by their doctors. As opposed to a doctor prescribing the medicine to a pregnant patient, with whom the doctor would then follow up to ensure that patient's health and safety. 

There has been pushback against the FDA's statement

The FDA says that doctors who are prescribing abortion medication to patients who are not yet pregnant are doing so without authorization. A spokesperson for the organization who asked not to be named told Politico, "The FDA is concerned about the advance prescribing of mifepristone for this use ... Mifepristone is not approved for advance provision of a medical abortion."

Some doctors and telemedicine providers have been using what is known as "advance provision," meaning providing patients with these medications before pregnancy as a way of ensuring those patients retain their access to an abortion should they need one. Advocates of this practice say that doing so is safe and effective. CEO of telemedicine group Choix, Cindy Adam, countered the FDA's statement, telling Politico that restrictions on abortion medications are unnecessary and that Choix provides "ongoing, supportive" care to its patients throughout the process, from prescription to actual use of the medicine.

While the FDA says that unlike other medications that are prescribed just-in-case before they are needed like antibiotics in some cases, the abortion pill should not be, Adam says: "Science has consistently shown that when people have accurate information and access to abortion pills they can safely end a pregnancy in their own homes ... Providing abortion care through advance provision should be no different."