Whitmer urges FDA to remove barriers to medication abortion

Pills that terminate pregnancies have taken on more urgency after Roe v. Wade was overturned

click to enlarge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. - State of Michigan
State of Michigan
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on the Federal Food and Drug Administration on Thursday to remove “burdensome restrictions” on the abortion medication mifepristone.

Pills that terminate pregnancies have taken on more urgency after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide.

“Americans deserve control over their own bodies and access to reproductive health care no matter where they live or who they are, but today these fundamental rights are under attack and we must do more to protect women,” Whitmer wrote in a letter to the FDA. “We must use every tool in our toolboxes to protect women, including by cutting red tape so they can access the safe, effective medicine they need. Let’s get it done.”

Federal regulations limit the circumstances under which patients can get mifepristone, even though it’s widely considered to be safer than commonly used drugs like Tylenol and Viagra.

Mifepristone, which has been approved in the U.S. for more than two decades, interrupts the hormones needed to continue a pregnancy.

In 2017, experts said in the New England Journal of Medicine that restrictions “no longer make clinical sense” for mifepristone and should be “expeditiously withdrawn.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says restrictions are unnecessary because “decades of evidence and the consensus of the medical community underscore mifepristone is a safe medication,” the group says on its website.

The American Medical Association also opposes the FDA’s restrictions.

Mifepristone is only available to patients under a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS, which mandates education and monitoring for doctors and patients. Those policies are generally reserved for drugs with harmful side effects.

In her letter to the FDA, Whitmer urged the removal of the REMS restrictions.

“Today, I urged the FDA to remove burdensome restrictions on mifepristone, abortion medication that is safer than Tylenol, Viagra, and many other widely used medications,” Whitmer wrote. “Right now, Michigan health care workers are going above and beyond to provide reproductive health care and facing surging demand. Internet searches for abortion clinics have increased over 1,300% since the decision in Dobbs and women are coming to Michigan from other states seeking reproductive care.”

In June, Attorney General Merrick Garland said that states can’t ban mifepristone because the FDA permits it.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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