Maloney, Pressley, and Bush Lead Oversight Committee Congresswomen in Urging Biden Administration to Expand Access to Medication Abortion Care
Washington, D.C. (March 16, 2022)—Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform; Committee Member Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force; and Committee Member Rep. Cori Bush led all Democratic Committee Congresswomen in sending a letter to Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The letter commends Secretary Becerra for establishing the Reproductive Health Care Access Task Force and urges the Task Force to take immediate action to protect and expand access to medication abortion care in accordance with the recent elimination of the medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement for the medication abortion drug mifepristone.
“Now that the in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone has been eliminated, the federal government must continue to use every tool at its disposal to ensure that medication abortion is accessible, affordable, and convenient for patients who seek it—including by facilitating the dispensing and safe provision of care via clinics, mail-order pharmacies, retail pharmacies, the mail and other forms of delivery, as well as telehealth,” the Members wrote.
On December 16, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was modifying the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy for mifepristone by eliminating the medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement for the drug—allowing patients to access the drug by mail.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the use of telehealth in medication abortion care increased, and research has demonstrated that services traditionally accompanying abortions may not be medically necessary or may be effectively conducted via telehealth.
“Expanding access to medication abortion services outside of clinic, hospital, and medical office settings removes barriers to care for patients with less income, including financial burdens associated with travel, arranging childcare, and taking time away from work,” the Members added. “For communities where abortion care has historically been pushed out of reach—including for people of color, people with less income, people with disabilities, and people in rural communities—facilitating access to medication abortion care is crucial to advancing reproductive justice.”
In the letter, the Members also requested a meeting with members of the Task Force to discuss its urgent work.
Click here to read the letter.
On February 9, 2021, Chairwoman Maloney and Rep. Pressley led all Democratic Committee Congresswomen in sending a letter asking the FDA to lift the medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone.
On February 17, 2021, Chairwoman Maloney and Rep. Pressley published an op-ed in ELLE explaining the urgent need for FDA to lift medically unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion care.
On August 17, 2021, Chairwoman Maloney, Rep. Pressley, and Pro-Choice Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Diana DeGette and Rep. Barbara Lee led more than 70 of their House Democratic colleagues in introducing a resolution in support of equitable, science-based policies governing access to medication abortion care.
On September 30, 2021, Chairwoman Maloney held a hearing in which Rep. Bush, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and Pro-Choice Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Barbara Lee testified on the state of abortion in America, bravely sharing their personal testimony before the Oversight Committee.
On December 16, 2021, FDA announced its decision to eliminate the medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone.
On January 21, 2022, the eve of the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, HHS Secretary Becerra announced the establishment of the Department’s first-ever Intra-agency Task Force on Reproductive Health Care Access to protect and bolster sexual and reproductive health in the United States.