US regulators lift in-person restrictions on abortion pill


WASHINGTON (AP) – The Food and Drug Administration is relaxing some restrictions on where women can get abortion pills, including a long-standing requirement that the drug be collected in person.

Officials said Thursday that a scientific review supported expanding access and allowing more pharmacies – including mail order services – to distribute the drug.

But the prescription will always be limited to doctors who have obtained special certification. Additionally, the agency said community pharmacies will need to be registered with the agency.

The move is the latest change in the polarized legal battle over medical abortion, which has only intensified amid the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is sure to spark legal challenges and restrictions in Republican-led states amid the ongoing battle for abortion.

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

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