As part of a broader effort to expand access to chemical abortion, House Democrats are demanding that the Food and Drug Administration remove safety protocols for mifepristone, a drug most commonly prescribed for abortions during the first three months of pregnancy.

Under its current policy, the FDA requires women to obtain the first of two chemical-abortion pills in person from a health-care professional rather than via telemedicine. The in-person mandate is intended as a safety precaution to ensure that women are monitored and have access to follow-up care as needed.

Last week, several Democratic congresswomen on the House Oversight Committee wrote to acting FDA commissioner Janet Woodcock, demanding that the agency “immediately eliminate the medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone.”

The letter is the latest move in a year-long effort from Democratic politicians and pro-abortion groups to eliminate safety requirements on chemical abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing to allow women to obtain the drug via telemedicine. The debate is especially interesting because data suggest that an increase in the rate of chemical abortion is a central reason for the recent increase in the overall U.S. abortion rate.

Meanwhile, many of the drug’s possible side effects and complications require subsequent in-person care or emergency-room treatment, which can be especially difficult to access during the pandemic.

According to one study, between 5 percent and 7 percent of women who undergo a chemical abortion will require a follow-up surgical abortion. Another survey found that more than 3 percent of women who took mifepristone required emergency-room admission to manage complications. A recent paper in Issues in Law and Medicine, cataloguing FDA reports of adverse events after chemical abortion, found that “significant morbidity and mortality have occurred following the use of mifepristone as an abortifacient” over the last two decades.

Full story at National Review.