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Abortion pill known as RU-486, seen here as Mifeprex. Photo: Newsmakers via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced that patients seeking abortion pills will not be required to obtain the drug from hospitals or medical facilities in person while the coronavirus pandemic persists.

Why it matters: The move will allow women to get prescriptions for mifepristone via telemedicine and receive the drug by mail. The FDA's decision comes as abortion opponents in multiple Republican-led states push legislation to limit access to pregnancy termination methods.

What they're saying: The FDA made the announcement in a letter to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, one of several groups that have filed lawsuits over the in-person rule.

  • The agency said recent studies "do not appear to show increases in serious safety concerns" when women take the medication without visiting a medical center first, according to AP.

The big picture: This is a reversal from the Trump-era federal requirement that obligated women seeking abortion pills to obtain the drug in person. The Supreme Court granted the Trump administration's appeal on the rule in its first ruling on abortion since the arrival of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Of note: "The FDA policy only applies during the COVID-19 health emergency," AP writes. "The obstetricians and gynecologists group and several other medical organizations are pushing to make medication abortion permanently available via online prescribing and mail-order pharmacies."

Go deeper

Updated Apr 13, 2021 - Health

FDA expects J&J vaccine pause to last "a matter of days"

Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

The U.S. FDA on Tuesday recommended an immediate halt of the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, citing cases of a rare blood clot disorder that six women developed within two weeks of receiving the shot.

The latest: Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said at a briefing that she expects the pause to only last "a matter of days," as health officials investigate the data surrounding the "extremely rare" blood clots.

Apr 13, 2021 - Health

Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine has not led to blood clots following J&J reports

Photo: Steve Parsons/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna released a statement Tuesday reassuring people of the safety of its coronavirus vaccine hours after the FDA recommended pausing the administration Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines due to reported cases of "extremely rare" blood clots.

What they're saying: After over 64.5 million doses administered globally, a comprehensive assessment using data through March 22 "does not suggest an association with" blood clots in the brain or veins, Moderna said.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
33 mins ago - Economy & Business

Filings show Sweetgreen isn't profitable, despite claims

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Restaurant chain Sweetgreen on Monday filed to go public, and revealed that it lost money in each year since 2014.

Why it matters: The company lied when it repeatedly told reporters it was profitable.