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Insights in reproductive health research and practice from CompassCare's medical team.

Is the Abortion Pill Prescribed Online?

The last year and a half has been difficult, especially when it comes to getting the medical treatment you need. In April 2021 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed the enforcement policy for healthcare providers who administer Mifepristone, or Mifeprex, the abortion pill. Here’s what you should know about getting a prescription for the abortion pill online before you schedule an appointment.

Since it’s legalization, the abortion pill has always had to be taken under the immediate supervision of a healthcare professional specially certified to do so.1 These professionals have signed a contract guaranteeing that they will:

  • advise you of all your pregnancy options
  • inform you of all possible risks associated with each option
  • determine the duration of your pregnancy
  • be certain that you do not have an ectopic pregnancy, and
  • in the event that something goes wrong, have the ability to provide or refer you for surgical intervention2

As of this spring, the FDA has lifted all stipulations in the Risk, Evaluation & Mitigation Strategy (REMS) which require an in-person meeting. In their official statement the FDA says it intends to “exercise enforcement discretion.”3 That means the FDA has not actually changed any regulations, they have just decided not to enforce them.

This is great news, right? Now you can be prescribed the abortion pill through an online engagement from the comfort of your own home and find the pills in your mailbox a few days later. This is now legal, but it might not be the best idea from a health and safety standpoint.

First, it is impossible to diagnose a viable early pregnancy on a video call. But that is the least of your worries. An online consultant will not be able to test for STDs, diagnose an ectopic pregnancy or accurately determine gestational age for that matter.  All of these are vital pieces of information to have before proceeding with any type of abortion. They directly impact the effectiveness of your choice of abortion type and can cause serious complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease and future infertility.4

Although some abortion providers offer online abortion pill consultation and may prescribe you Mifepristone, this way of dispensing the drug does not follow the standard process for ethical medicine: diagnosis first and then an options consultation. That’s why we recommend having an in-person consultation before having any kind of abortion. The stakes are just too high.

Have you already taken the first abortion pill and are having second thoughts? It’s possible to stop your abortion. Click here to learn about abortion pill reversal.

 


1 U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2016). Mifepristone: Information. Retrieved June 2021 from Mifeprex (mifepristone) Information (fda.gov)

2 U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2021). Approved Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies: Mifepristone. Retrieved June 2021 from Approved Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) (fda.gov)

3 U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2021). Questions and Answers on Mifiprex. Retrieved June 2021 from Questions and Answers on Mifiprex (fda.gov)

4 U.S. Food & Drug Administration (2018). Mifepristone U.S. Post-Marketing Adverse Events Summary through 12/31/2018. Retrieved June 2021 from https://www.fda.gov/media/112118/download (fda.gov).