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News Update: Abortion Pills by Mail

Just after the turn of the new year, there are already changes taking place in legislation and abortion access. Following the Dobbs ruling, much that is taking place regarding abortion laws is happening on the state level. However, recently the FDA finalized a rule that allows for broadened access to the abortion pill by mail. What does this mean for those facing unexpected pregnancies, especially in Illinois and surrounding states? 

Caring Network is an Illinois-based non-profit that serves those facing unexpected pregnancies. Our seven pregnancy centers provide limited medical services and practical support – equipping women to choose life for their babies. Through compassionate care and free services, we are there through each step of the decision-making process. To learn more about who we are and what we do, reach out to us today!

Abortion by Pills – Prevalence & Risks

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 53% of abortions in 2020 were by medication and preliminary data indicates that the number has grown to 54% in subsequent months. There are many reasons that we may assume this trend will continue. The abortion pills may be considered “easier” to administer by abortion clinics (and now pharmacies). There are no surgical procedures involved unless the abortion is incomplete. It can be distributed after a telehealth appointment, rather than an in-person assessment. Many women may find this option appealing due to the ease of access, the lack of a surgical procedure, and the option to complete the abortion “at home.”

However, although many may view these reasons as “pros,” there are several concerns to be considered. Prior to the medication abortion, does a woman undergo an ultrasound exam to rule out the possibility of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy (a dangerous medical condition that can be life-threatening to the expectant mom)? What happens when a woman experiences potential side effects of heavy bleeding, extreme cramping, or an incomplete abortion? Is she offered information on potential side effects and physical or emotional risks of the abortion pills? These are important aspects for her both her physical and emotional well-being.

Abortion Pills by Mail

During the pandemic, the FDA lifted the in-person requirement for the prescribing of Mifepristone (the first of two abortion pills in a medication abortion). This allowed for the mailing of the abortion pills (typically Mifepristone followed by Misoprostol) following a telehealth appointment in states where legal. In December 2021, the government made this a permanent ruling.

Then, recently, the FDA expanded access to the abortion pill by mail to include many more pharmacies and mail-order companies. Retail pharmacies (in states where it’s legal) that choose to undergo a certification process will be able to prescribe the abortion pill. According to Forbes, it’s likely that this expansion will follow states who currently have broad access to abortion, which includes Illinois.

What does this mean for Caring Network?

Illinois has taken aggressive steps to assure abortion access in the state. Many surrounding states have restrictions or have banned abortion. This means that many women who are an seeking abortion will travel to Illinois. Statistics show this is the case, and the number of women coming to Illinois will only increase. We are poised and ready to help. We’re here to provide life-saving alternatives through free pregnancy services. For those women seeking the abortion pills by mail or considering an abortion procedure, we’re here to meet them with accurate information and compassionate support.

The FDA has approved abortion pills up to 10 weeks gestation. Often, women find out they are pregnant or begin to have suspicions, around the time of a missed period. Typically, this means there are several weeks that a woman has to confirm her pregnancy, receive an ultrasound appointment, and be equipped with information regarding her pregnancy decision. That’s exactly where we come in!

As more women come to Illinois seeking abortion, Caring Network is equipped to intervene. With seven centers (and growing!) our vision is to reach more women and save more lives. Regardless of the changes that take place in legislation or our culture, our mission never wavers. Would you join us in making an impact for life? Learn more about how you can come alongside this vital work today!

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