FDA: Pharmacies May Dispense Abortion Drugs — But What About Pharmacists and Nurses Who Oppose Abortion?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finalized a rule that will allow pharmacies to sell mifeprex and the generic mifepristone, along with misoprostol, to kill unborn babies through 10 weeks (or more) of pregnancy. Mifepristone used to be available only through certain mail order pharmacies, doctors, and clinics.

Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone to kill the baby by starving him of nutrients, and misoprostol expels the tissue.

Pharmacies may apply for certification to dispense these abortion drugs. With a prescription, women can obtain the pills and terminate their pregnancies at home.

CVS and Walgreens already announced that they will seek certification to dispense abortion drugs. From the Washington Examiner:

Previously, the pills could only be obtained through hospitals, doctor’s offices, or other medical settings. Regulations were loosened in December 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing women to obtain an abortion drug through the mail.

The move was praised by pro-abortion rights groups while being decried by anti-abortion groups.

“The Biden administration has once again proved that it values abortion industry profits over women’s safety and unborn children’s lives,” the group SBA Pro-Life America said in a statement to Bloomberg.

The Biden administration’s rule is a reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022) overturning Roe v. Wade (1973), in which the court ruled 7-2 that the U.S. Constitution conferred a right of privacy on women to kill their unborn babies, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which upheld Roe and established an “undue burden standard” on states that sought to restrict abortion.

The majority in Dobbs contended that abortion was not a protected right under the Constitution. The ruling allowed states to set their own laws on abortion.

SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser expressed concern about the dangers of the abortion drugs.

“Chemical abortion pills can cause dangerous complications including hemorrhage and infection, and complications are more likely when pills are dispensed without medical screening or follow-up care,” she said. “Pro-life governors understand this threat, which is why many states have enacted safeguards to protect women and their unborn children. State lawmakers and Congress must stand as a bulwark against the Biden administration’s pro-abortion extremism. We hope to see the FDA do its job to protect the lives of women and put an end to chemical abortions.”

How will the FDA’s final rule affect pharmacists and other employees who oppose abortion? Some nurses who worked at CVS’s various MinuteClinic locations are litigating the issue right now. CVS fired nurse practioners Robyn Strader, Paige Casey, and Suzanne Schuler for refusing to dispense drugs that could induce abortions.

These women asked for a religious accommodation. CVS refused and claimed that it would be an undue hardship. The FDA’s final rule just made getting a religious accommodation that much tougher.

Photo credit: Robin Marty (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

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