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Activists who oppose abortion were horrified to hear that a group of doctors and public health experts urged the Food and Drug Administration to make a later term medical abortion pill available to pharmacies.

Ten co-authors published a commentary on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors included leaders of major health groups as well as professors and doctors from universities like Columbia, Stanford, and Princeton.

Since its 2000 approval, the FDA has placed tough federal restrictions on the drug mifepristone (Mifeprex, distinct from the “morning after” pill in that it works later in pregnancies). Only clinics, hospitals and doctors’ offices are allowed to sell it, and they must go through a certification process.

“The restrictions on mifepristone are a shameful example of overregulation run amok,” said co-author of the commentary Dr. Beverly Winikoff.

“Women and their health providers shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get a medication that’s been safely and effectively used in this country for a decade and a half.”

Several national organizers against abortion are not buying it.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students For Life of America told the Washington Examiner, “This is yet another example of how the abortion industry cares nothing for the women they claim to serve.”

“It is a dangerous fantasy to think that unsupervised use of Mifeprex could be construed as anything but harmful to the health and safety of women due to increasing complications, hemorrhages, infections, and failures that occur as the pregnancy progresses,” said Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Medical abortions account for about 22 percent of all abortions in the U.S., according to federal numbers for 2013. The rest are overwhelmingly surgical abortions.

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The New England Journal of Medicine commentary pointed out that if Mifeprex were available by prescription doctors would be more willing to prescribe it since they would not have to get certified and keep it in stock themselves.

A woman would not even necessarily have to see a doctor before getting the prescription.

More women would be able to abort earlier in their pregnancies, reducing costs and risks, said co-author of the commentary Dr. Paul Blumenthal of the Stanford University School of Medicine.

“I don’t think it will increase the number of abortions,” he stated. “It will just make them safer and more accessible.”

“Misuse of this drug is dangerous and can have serious side effects,” Students for Life’s Hawkins warned the Washington Examiner.

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Hawkins said sexual predators are the winners if regulations on access to medical abortions are pulled back.

“By making the abortion pill easily accessible, an abuser – whether it’s a spouse or it’s an older man preying on a young girl -is able to cover their tracks by simply forcing their victim to get an easy prescription for the abortion pill and picking it up at their nearest pharmacy, stripping away another layer of protection,” Hawkins claimed.

“If only for the safety of young girls, the abortion pill should never be available at pharmacies.”



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