Thursday, April 21, 2016

FDA Label Change Improving Abortion Access for Women in Texas (April 19, 2016): After FDA Label Change, Clinics See More Women Using Medications for Abortions, by Ashley Lopez: 

Three weeks after the FDA changed the label for mifepristone, the country's most widely used abortion drug,  Texas clinics are seeing an increase in medication abortion.  

Texas law requires that doctors administering mifepristone follow FDA labelling requirements even though the old label was inconsistent with current medical standards.  According to Sarah Wheat at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, under the old FDA label, Texas law required that women make four separate visits to their abortion provider.  Texas HB 2, passed in 2013, also resulted in the closure of many abortion clinics, greatly increasing the distance women needed to travel to make those visits.  The unnecessary trips and the distance to providers forced many women to have surgical procedures rather than medication abortions.  Since the new FDA label has been in effect, Wheat say Planned Parenthood has seen a "four-fold increase" in women choosing medication abortion.

In addition to reducing the number of doctors visits, the label change also allows doctors to lower the dose of mifepristone and prescribe a mediation abortion later into pregnancy.  While the change in the FDA label has an immediate effect in Texas, many states passed laws that adopted the old FDA requirements verbatim.  Indeed Arizona passed such a law after the new FDA requirements went into effect.  Unless the legislatures amend those laws to reflect the new FDA standards, women in those states will be subjected to unnecessary requirements and out-of-date medical protocols.

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