Washington D.C. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Wednesday the approval of a new labeling for medication that induces abortion. The FDA decided to simplify the regulations for taking the pill in order to expand access to the procedure for American women and to update regulations that have been in circulation for almost 2 decades.

The new guidelines meet what medical professionals have claimed for years, that mifepristone, the country’s most widely used abortion drug, has fewer negative side-effects when taken in smaller doses without limiting its effect. So, the FDA new regulations have lowered the recommended dose approved by European regulators back in the 1980s and permitted into the United States in 2000.

The FDA has updated the regulations for taking a pill that induces abortion and expands the access to the medication. Credit: ABC News

Medical professionals can now prescribe 200 mg of mifepristone, down from 600 mg that the previous regulations established. Most abortion doctors have already been following this dosage regimen for years. The new label also allows women to use the medication for 70 days after the start of their last menstrual period, up from 49 days under the previous guidelines. Furthermore, women can also get a prescription for the pill easily.

It is a change public health advocates and reproductive rights activists have sought for more than a decade, as the drug’s outdated labeling became an effective weapon for anti-abortion forces. Amy Hagstrom Miller, the president of Whole Woman’s Health abortion clinics, said this significant change reflects the evidence-based care that is best for women.

A win for public health advocates

Providing clearer guidance to doctors is not the only a positive outcome out of this update. Several state laws, supported by abortion opponents, force clinicians to administer mifepristone according to the old regimen. The change could have the effect of undermining such laws.

The old protocols required patients to make up to three separate trips to a clinic. The first one to administrate the dose of mifepristone, the second one for the dose of misoprostol, and the last one for a follow-up. New scientifically approved regulations require one trip for the mifepristone dose.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, a network of groups dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom, said that unlike state and federal anti-choice laws that restrict a women’s access to an abortion, the FDA decision to make mifepristone available to more women is based on science that shows this usage is safe.

“It’s high time to put medicine back into the hands of medical professionals and take it out of politicians’ hands,” Hogue added as reported by USA Today.

Vicki Saporta, the president of the National Abortion Federation, said on Wednesday that the change will prevent politicians from denying women access to this safe and effective method of early abortion care by insisting on an outdated regimen.

Even though most clinicians today prescribe a lower dose and only require women to make one trip, Arizona, Arkansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas still have laws that forces doctors to follow to the old regimen as abortion foes argue the old protocol is safer than the new one based on medical evidence.

Source: The Guardian