New York City now offers free abortion pills

New York City residents can now get abortion pills for free. The Department of Health and Mental Health was due to begin dispensing the pills on Wednesday, which act as an alternative to surgical abortions at a Bronx health clinic.

Additional clinics in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens will offer free abortion drugs by the end of the year, according to New York City Mayor Eric Adams. The move is part of his New York City Women’s Health Agenda, which aims to make the city’s health offerings for women and girls more inclusive.

“Health and health care have been focused on men for too long. When men had periods, swabs, and menopause, they would get paid vacation time. And if men could get pregnant, we wouldn’t see Congress trying to pass legislation restricting abortion,” Adams said in a news conference Tuesday.

The abortion pill, which is considered a safe and effective way of terminating a pregnancy in women up to 10 weeks pregnant, refers to two different medications taken back-to-back: mifepristone and misoprostol. According to the Guttmacher Institute, so-called medical abortions now account for more than half of all abortions in the United States.

The Food and Drug Administration said earlier this month pharmacies would allow Giving mifepristone to patients with a prescription for the drug.

The Justice Department also recently gave the U.S. Postal Service the green light to continue delivering abortion drugs through the mail, particularly in states that have enacted restrictions on abortion services since the Supreme Court ruled it out last year 1973 decision Roe vs. Wade.

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Previously, mifepristone could only be prescribed by some mail-order pharmacies and certified doctors, which experts say had created barriers to entry. Misoprostol is also used to treat stomach ulcers and is more readily available in pharmacies than mifepristone.

Anti-abortion groups try to restrict legal access to abortion pills. Conservative rights group Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit in Texas in November to challenge the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill.

In 2020, the median cost of a medical abortion was $560, according to a recent study. Abortion startup Hey Jane sells medical abortions for $249 and also works with groups to provide financial assistance to women who can’t afford the procedure.