Abortion Pills Still Hard to Get in Ohio, Despite New FDA Policy

State law approved in 2021 requires a physician to be "physically present" when the initial dose of the two-step abortion pill is consumed.

Jan 9, 2023 at 11:26 am
click to enlarge Mifepristone is a two-pill regimen used in medication abortions. - Photo: Christine Sandu, Unsplash
Photo: Christine Sandu, Unsplash
Mifepristone is a two-pill regimen used in medication abortions.

Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed requirements for pills used to induce an abortion, state law would keep Ohioans from benefitting from the change.

Last week, the FDA announced that it would not enforce a rule that pregnant people need to pick up mifepristone in person and allows retail pharmacies to dispense the pills, something national chains have said they are willing to do.

“With this change at the FDA, the harms caused by these (abortion) bans and restrictions are once again highlighted,” said Jaime Miracle, deputy director of Pro-Choice Ohio.

But state law approved in 2021 puts the brakes on increased access to the pills, which are seen as a safe and more accessible option for those not opting for a surgical abortion.

The latest legislation, passed as Senate Bill 260, bars a physician from providing abortion drugs “unless the physician is physically present where and when the initial dose of the drug is consumed.”

Violating the law could result in a physician receiving a fourth-degree felony for a first offense and a third-degree felony for future offenses.

Ohioans could get around the law with the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. The state joined the compact the same year the abortion pill law went into effect, and it allows doctors to be licensed in multiple states. But that doesn’t mean the fight is over for reproductive rights in the state.

“Every Ohioan who needs abortion access should be able to get it without judgment or delay in their community, and we will continue to fight each day to make that a reality,” Miracle said.

This story was originally published by the Ohio Capital Journal and republished here with permission.

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