As of Tuesday, the FDA finalized a rule change that expands abortion pill availability to large chain and mail-order pharmacies.
The change comes after the Biden administration announced last year that they would no longer require women to pick up the pills in person.
Following the official update, more retail pharmacies will be permitted to dispense the medication as long as they complete a certification process.
If permitted by law, women could receive prescriptions through the mail from online pharmacies and retail stores.
However, the rule change's impact has been minimized by various state laws restricting abortion in general and the pill in particular.
Legal experts predict years of court battles over access to the pills.
Over the past 20 years, FDA labeling has restricted dispensing to a select group of specialty offices and clinics for safety reasons. But, the FDA temporarily relaxed the in-person requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new scientific review conducted by agency staff later supported easing access, confirming numerous medical societies that had long argued that the restriction was unnecessarily restrictive.
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the change is an "important step" forward.
"Although the FDA's announcement today will not solve access issues for every person seeking abortion care, it will allow more patients who need mifepristone for medication abortion additional options to secure this vital drug," the group said.
The Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, said that more than half of U.S. abortions are now done with pills rather than surgery.
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