When the FDA uses the best scientific evidence to determine a drug is effective, states cannot be permitted to block their residents from accessing essential medication, period. Science must trump politics. Imagine if a state chose to restrict cancer patients from getting a life-saving drug for partisan reasons. Or, as is the case here, hard-right ideologues force unwanted and potentially dangerous pregnancies on women for political and religious reasons.
The FDA should also set into motion the regulatory and rigorous scientific review needed to expand the availability of medication abortion. Specifically, the agency should study whether medication abortion can be made available over the counter, whether it can be prescribed via telemedicine from a provider outside a state that bans or restricts access, whether it can be safely used up until 12 weeks of pregnancy, and whether women can import these medicines from abroad for their personal use. While the FDA must follow the science wherever it leads, other countries have pursued these policies and found them to be safe. If adopted here, these steps would aid millions of American women whose only realistic access to abortion services now comes through FDA approved medications.