abortion rights

Retail Pharmacies Can Now Offer Abortion Pills

Photo: Allen G Breed/AP/Shutterstock

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration finalized a rule change making abortion pills available in brick-and-mortar pharmacies, including chains like CVS and Walgreens and mail-order companies, potentially broadening access to medication abortion across the country.

Prior to the change, mifepristone — one of two pills used for a medication abortion — could only be dispensed by a subset of specialty offices and clinics, as well as a few mail-order pharmacies. Now, any pharmacy that agrees to accept prescriptions can dispense the pills in its stores and by mail order. Patients still need to have a prescription from a certified health-care provider. The second pill for a medication abortion, misoprostol, already has fewer restrictions and has been accessible in pharmacies through a usual prescription process.

The change has the potential to widely expand abortion access at a time when it’s been significantly limited. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last June, abortion pills have been in high demand. At least 13 states have effectively banned abortion, and in those states, the new rule change will not override the existing bans and restrictions. NPR reports that legal experts expect there to be court battles over access to the pills as abortion-rights proponents bring test cases to challenge state restrictions for years to come.

Retail Pharmacies Can Now Offer Abortion Pills