Since the overturning of Roe V Wade back in June of 2022, citizens have been begging the government not just to overrule the overruling, but to create new legislation that makes abortion care more accessible. This is especially needed in certain states, like Texas, which upon the court’s decision has banned all forms of abortion care, without an exception for rape or incest. While our state is still a long ways from making formal abortion care accessible, the F.D.A.’s latest ruling will at least help those willing to travel for it. As Planned Parenthood states following the rulings, “There was a more than 1000% increase in abortion patients with Texas zip codes at Planned Parenthood health centers in Colorado, compared to previous years.”
On January 3rd of this year, the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) finalized new guidance allowing the medical abortion pill Mifepristone to be sold at retail pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens. The publication Reuters reports, “The rule will make medication abortion, which accounts for more than half of U.S. abortions, more accessible in states where abortion remains legal”. And while this ruling won’t take effect in Texas, it will still increase our accessibility to abortion care, “Previously, Mifepristone had to be dispensed by an authorized clinic or through certain specialty mail-order pharmacies — a process that could take days or even weeks if a clinic is busy.” Though prescriptions are still required in order to get Mifepristone, with this new ruling, they can acquire a prescription through a virtual visit. While not every doctor offers telehealth, Planned Parenthood does. Their website has an excellent Health Center resource where you can make appointments either online or in person.
While the physical medicine previously wouldn’t ship out for 1 to 2 days, according to Houston Public Media, “The F.D.A. rule change will likely reduce that wait time. A pharmacy can usually fill a prescription within an hour.” Though citizens seeking care will still have to travel outside of the state, at least this way they’ll be ensured quicker accessibility to the medicine in a moment when time is of the essence. Gone are the days of going to specialty pharmacies, waiting weeks for medicine, or having to acquire a prescription in person in a state you don’t reside in. Now, ideally, those in need of the drug can have a visit from the comfort of their home and only travel once the prescription is already filled. It’s important to remember, however, that this particular drug is only being used to terminate pregnancies through a 10-week gestational period.
This new ruling is also a step forward in lowering the stigma surrounding abortion care. As the Medical Director at Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, Dr. Kristina Tocce told Houston Public Media, “If Mifepristone is in the pharmacy, that really normalizes that medication in our world. That’s going to help with perception, with willingness (among physicians) to provide, and that’s going to trickle down to increasing access and decreasing the bottleneck.” So while, unfortunately, Texas continues to fall behind when it comes to abortion care. Perhaps some years down the line this normalization will help new rulings come into effect that will end the current limitations on abortion care.
For now, the best we can do is donate to abortion funds. There are a few dedicated specifically to aiding Texans, like the Texas Equal Access Fund located in Dallas, Texas. Or Fund Texas Choice, another abortion fund on a mission to help their fellow Texans access safe and confidential abortion care. These donations go directly into funding travel and financial assistance. The easiest place to discover abortion funds is AbortionFunds.org.
Planned Parenthood: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/newsroom/press-releases/new-planned-parenthood-data-highlight-the-far-reaching-impact-of-texas-abortion-ban
Planned Parenthood Resource: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/get-care/get-care-online
Houston Public Media: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/health-science/2023/01/05/440520/new-fda-rule-could-slightly-improve-out-of-state-access-to-the-abortion-pill-mifepristone-for-pregnant-texans/
Texas Equal Access Fund: https://teafund.org/
Fund Texas Choice: https://fundtexaschoice.org/
Abortion Funds: https://abortionfunds.org/