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Thu Mar 31, 2016, 05:01 PM

Amid sweeping clinic closures, FDA loosens reins on abortion pill

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Amid sweeping clinic closures, FDA loosens reins on abortion pill

The FDA has lifted regulations on an abortion pill, overriding laws in several
states and adding a fresh layer to the national abortion debate.

By Lucy Schouten, Staff MARCH 31, 2016

Federal regulators relaxed guidelines for the use of a prescription pill designed to induce abortion Wednesday, a change that coincides with what advocates for and against legal abortion describe as a definitive moment in the debate.

The Food and Drug Administration overrode several state laws to provide women with another avenue to receive abortions, as abortion clinics have been closing around the country and the Supreme Court is hearing a case that will determine the constitutionality of key anti-abortion legislation by states.

The FDA ruling offers federal approval to a new label for the abortion drug Mifeprex, which terminates a pregnancy when taken along with misoprostol. The new label from Danco Laboratories allows women to take the drug up to 70 days into a pregnancy and take the second drug at home rather than at a clinic. Laws in Ohio, North Dakota, and Texas required doctors to prescribe the drug using the old 2000 label, meaning women could take the drug for 49 days after their last period. Similar laws are currently facing legal challenge in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Clinics in the affected states will implement the change within days, although pro-choice advocates say they want to begin at once.

"Combined with other restrictions in our state, medication abortion has required four in-person clinic visits, making this method too costly and cumbersome for most people," Chris France, executive director of Preterm, the largest abortion provider in Ohio, told the Associated Press. "Now, our providers will no longer be forced to practice medicine mandated by politicians whose goal is to shut us down."

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Read more: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2016/0331/Amid-sweeping-clinic-closures-FDA-loosens-reins-on-abortion-pill

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