Coming to Your Local Pharmacy: This Is How the FDA Just Changed Chemical Abortion Pill Regulations

Caroline Wharton - 05 Jan 2023

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made a recent announcement one evening this week that the agency is once again loosening the regulations of Chemical Abortion Pill distribution, and we have to say that their choice of announcement time — a sneaky point in the day when most people are distracted — says a lot about the content of their announcement. If you missed this development or are confused on what exactly changed, here’s what happened and why it matters to the pro-life movement:  

On January 3, 2022, the FDA announced that it will be furthering Chemical Abortion Pill distribution by allowing local pharmacies to sell the life-ending drugs — a step which was unsurprising given their lackluster history that SFLAction and SFLA confronted weeks prior in our Citizens Petition. This announcement means that individual doctors as well as any pharmacy (yes, that includes the Walgreens and CVS right down the street from you) can opt-in to this deadly distribution and get certified to prescribe Chemical Abortion Pills.  

Prior to this regulation change, the Chemical Abortion Pill mifepristone could only be dispensed by specialty physicians or limited mail order pharmacies — now, however, Chemical Abortion Pills have gone mainstream which means that a new abortion battleground could be in any given neighborhood drugstore. If common drugstores like Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid opt-in to this new certification, you could buy a pair of tights, some chewing gum, and life-ending pills all in the same place.   

In a comment for the Washington Post, SFLA Chief Media and Policy Strategist Kristi Hamrick said, “This is an extremely negligent act on the part of the FDA, which has just increased the number of places where you can acquire the pills that can harm women, and certainly harm the pre-born.”  

While this regulation change does give pharmacies the option to decide of whether to get certified in the distribution of Chemical Abortion Pills or not, it does look like this is a dangerous road towards the government making these same companies participate in distribution. One can imagine, after all, the typical argument for something like this: For the sake of “health equity” and “reproductive justice,” all pharmacies should be required to distribute Chemical Abortion Pills.  

The recent Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency does seem to offer protection from pharmacies being forced to by federal agencies as the ruling set that courts should be “skeptical” that agencies have the authority to set broad policy through statutory measures. Will the Department of Health and Human Services push the boundaries of this? Only time can tell.  

For now, we must be vigilant in watching to ensure that local pharmacies — like the main three mentioned earlier — do not cave to the abortion lobby and turn our street corners into Chemical Abortion Pill distribution centers. If that does become the case, however, you better believe the heads of these companies will hear about it from pro-lifers.  

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