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Amid national furor over abortion, the Food and Drug Administration permanently removed a controversial restriction on access to abortion pills by allowing patients to receive the medicine by mail, instead of requiring them to get the pills in person from specially certified providers.

The decision means that medication abortion may become more widely available to women who find it difficult to travel to abortion providers. Going forward, any doctor who is certified to prescribe the pill, which is known as mifepristone, can do so online and have it sent by mail, which will allow pregnancies to be terminated at home, even if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade.


“This is a very significant development,” said Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, who has studied mifepristone dispensing. “We know it’s not medically necessary for women to obtain the pill in person to ensure the service is provided safely and effectively. This will greatly improve access, but not for everyone.”

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