Although health-care providers are not authorized to offer a medication abortion before a patient gets pregnant, some are doing so, a spokesperson for the US Food and Drug Administration told Politico. The FDA is concerned that the practice could be dangerous.
Medication abortion, also known as medical abortion, is a method by which someone ends their pregnancy by taking two pills, rather than having a surgical procedure. The first pill is mifepristone, sold under the brand names Mifeprex (formerly RU 486) or Korlym. The second pill is misoprostol.
Medication abortion now accounts for more than half of all US abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization focused on sexual and reproductive health.
The FDA told Politico that it was concerned that providers who gave medication for an abortion before they were pregnant wouldn’t be able to properly oversee their patient’s care, including telling how far along the pregnancy is or whether it’s inside the uterus (intrauterine) or outside the uterus (ectopic). Mifepristone’s labeling says it should not be used in cases of ectopic pregnancy.
The FDA did not have a direct response to the report when CNN asked for comment.
“They’re not acknowledging people’s ability to understand their own bodies and know what’s right for them,” said Ushma Upadhyay, a professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science in the University of California, San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health.
The FDA’s concern about provider oversight is not based on evidence, Upadhyay said. Some studies she’s worked on have found that people are generally capable of determining how far along they are in their pregnancy. Several other studies have also shown that