The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the policy change a day earlier in a letter to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, one of several medical groups that has sued over the restrictions put in place under the Donald Trump administration.
The FDA acting director, Dr. Janet Woodcock, said an agency review of recent studies do not appear to show increases in serious safety concerns, when women take the pill without first visiting a health facility and discussing the drug’s potential risks, including internal bleeding.
The change clears the way women got prescriptions for the pill — mifepristone — via telemedicine and received it through the mail. However, abortion opponents are pushing a legislation in several Republican-led states that would head off easier access.
The abortion pill has been available in the United States since 2000, when the FDA approved the use of mifepristone, taken with a hormone blocker called misoprostol.
About 40 percent of all abortions in the US are now done through medication — rather than surgery — and that option has become more pivotal during the Covid-19 pandemic.