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Pharmacies can now offer abortion pills. What comes next?

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: (L-R) Lila Bonow, Alana Edmondson and Aiyana Knauer prepare to take abortion pill while demonstrating in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices hear hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks,  on December 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. With the addition of conservative justices to the court by former President Donald Trump, experts believe this could be the most important abortion case in decades and could undermine or overturn Roe v. Wade. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01: (L-R) Lila Bonow, Alana Edmondson and Aiyana Knauer prepare to take abortion pill while demonstrating in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices hear hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, a case about a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, on December 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. With the addition of conservative justices to the court by former President Donald Trump, experts believe this could be the most important abortion case in decades and could undermine or overturn Roe v. Wade. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The FDA announced a rule change last week that will allow retail pharmacies to dispense abortion pills for the first time. Two pharmacy giants, Walgreens and CVS, said they plan to offer the drug mifepristone to patients with a prescription. The move could expand abortion access in states where it’s legal.

More than half of people who get abortions use the two-drug regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol to terminate their pregnancy. The drugs were first approved by the FDA in 2000 and their widespread use is due in part to their safety record. There have been only 28 deaths among millions of users according to the FDA.

Now, some anti-abortion groups are preparing for a legal fight to limit access to these pills. The Guttmacher Institute tracked 118 proposed restrictions on medication abortions in states across the country.

How far will the FDA’s new rule go to expand abortion access in a post-Roe America. And are pharmacies the next battleground in the fight over reproductive rights?

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Anna Casey