Policy & Regulations

The Intersection of State and Federal Policies on Access to Medication Abortion Via Telehealth

Kaiser Family Foundation
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The Intersection of State and Federal Policies on Access to Medication Abortion Via Telehealth

Abortion rights are at a crossroads

In this Kaiser Family Foundation article, you'll learn about:

  • Current federal regulations around medication abortion

" On December 16, 2021, after an extensive scientific review of the safety of medication abortion in part prompted by litigation, the FDA removed the in-person dispensing requirement for Mifepristone and now allows certified pharmacies, in addition to certified providers, to dispense the drug. Both of these changes broadened the modes in which the medication can be dispensed. "

  • How laws can make telehealth obsolete

" As the option of telehealth abortions has been broadened federally, some states have moved to enact new policies that further restrict access to medication abortion. For example, an executive order by South Dakota’s Governor directed the state’s health department to ban telehealth for medication abortion. The Department established a new rule requiring pregnant patients to obtain each of the drugs used in medication abortion—mifepristone and misoprostol— in person at a licensed abortion facility, and to come back for a follow up visit.  "

  • How laws can be used to overrule FDA-establised protocols for care

" It is unusual, but not unheard of, for states to enact policies that overrule an FDA-established protocol for dispensing a drug. In 2014 Massachusetts attempted to restrict an opioid more stringently than the FDA recommended, and after the manufacturer sued, a court invalidated the law, finding the state law was preempted by federal law. The court ruled that allowing the law to stand would “undermine the FDA’s ability to make drugs available to promote and protect the public health.” "


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