And yet women across the country are unable to exercise their independence over their bodies due to legislation rooted in religion that restricts abortion care and access. In honor of Independence Day, let’s take action to release the abortion pill and make abortion accessible to millions of women across the United States.
Despite the fact that 59 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, anti-abortion laws have been significantly strengthened. In fact, 2021 is set to be a banner year for abortion restrictions. For example, in just one week in April, 28 anti-abortion bills were enacted into law. Many of these laws are Targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP), which are designed to make abortion care burdensome for medical providers by imposing medically unnecessary restrictions, such as unnecessary staffing requirements, hospital admission privileges, and unnecessary facility regulations.
Because of these laws, access to abortion services in the United States is extremely rare. Indeed, a study by the University of California-San Francisco found that 27 major cities in the United States are considered “abortion deserts,” where women must travel more than 100 miles to reach an abortion center.
From 13 states require patients to have at least two in-person visits at the abortion clinic, that means women have to budget for gasoline, babysitting, and free time. Additionally, the Hyde Amendment, which restricts abortion coverage for federally funded health care plans like Medicaid, puts safe abortion care out of the reach of many low-income women. At best, the ban forces low-income women to forgo paying utility bills and rent or buy food for themselves and their children so they can scratch together the cost of $ 500 to $ 3,000 for an abortion.
Medical abortion, first approved by the FDA in 2000, is a safe and effective way to terminate pregnancy and democratize abortion care. When it is available by mail or in pharmacies, it covers the costs associated with transportation, childcare and working arrangements. And yet, the FDA has designated medical abortion to be part of the Risk Assessment and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program, which addresses drugs known to be “associated with potentially serious complications or contraindications, such as antipsychotics, opioids, testosterone, and medications. used to treat cancer, acne and multiple sclerosis. This means that abortion medication must be obtained in person at a hospital or abortion clinic. However, medicated abortion pills are 99.6 percent effective, with less than 1% risk of major complications and should not be part of this program.
Health care and medical organizations agree. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a group of 58,000 members, issued a statement stating that the risk assessment and mitigation strategy program âis no longer required for mifepristone, given its history of safe use. The REMS requirement is incompatible with the requirements for other medicinal products with similar or greater risks, especially in light of the important benefits that mifepristone offers to patients. “
Indeed, the inclusion of abortion drugs in the program is a politically motivated position that was introduced by George Bush the elder, an anti-abortion hero. to the religious right. Due to the pandemic that has claimed 604,000 deaths in the United States, the FDA has temporarily lifted these in-person requirements, making abortion pills available directly by mail or through a mail-order pharmacy in states that allow medical abortion. . Additionally, the FDA is reviewing the abortion pill and will provide an update by November on its future status.
While medical abortion via telemedicine would enable millions of women to exercise their constitutional right to abortion, it is only available in the 22 states that have not imposed a ban on telemedicine for the ‘abortion. In fact, 19 states ban telemedicine for abortion and 12 states published policies that attempted to limit access to abortion, deeming it “non-essential” – demonstrating blatant disregard for women’s health care. And with the Supreme Court called to hear a major anti-abortion case that could effectively reverse Roe vs. Wade, the liberalization of laws on medical abortion is more necessary than ever.
the Women’s Health Protection Act seeks to rectify barriers by protecting the right to access abortion care by ending medically unnecessary TRAP laws. This has the potential to make telemedicine for abortion care, as well as care in abortion clinics, accessible in all 50 states and territories. The Freedom From Religion Foundation submitted a official testimony of Congress in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act.
In a secular nation, our health care laws should reflect science, not religion. Restrictions on abortion are not evidence-based, nor do they protect the well-being and health of women. To release the pill and allow millions of women to have independence from their bodies, we must appeal to our representatives and senators adopt the Women’s Health Protection Act.