New access to drug store abortion pill raises safety concerns

In June 2022 the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, restricting women’s access to surgical abortion clinics in certain states. Some states, like New York and New Jersey, however, still provide access to women who wish to have an abortion.

Starting as soon as this month, another option for accessible abortions will be available to women in particular states. The drug stores CVS and Walgreens will soon start selling an abortion pill called “mifepristone.” The question is, though, is this good or bad for women who are looking to get an abortion?

According to CBS News, there has been an increase in women seeking abortions taking mifepristone instead of having a surgical abortion. Mifepristone is an oral medication a woman can take up to no more than 10 weeks into their pregnancy or 70 days after the first day of their last menstrual period.

The purpose of mifepristone is to block progesterone, which allows the pregnancy to continue. Of course, like the surgical abortion procedure, mifepristone has side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness or dizziness. 

Since the announcement of mifepristone’s distribution, the U.S. Supreme Court is yet again faced with the challenge of approving the abortion pill as conservative groups are seeking to disapprove the pill or rolling back policies that have made it easier to obtain.

With more abortion access on the way, I am having mixed feelings about mifepristone being so widely available. I am a full advocate for women’s rights, including abortion rights. However, there are safety precautions that must be followed to protect women’s bodies and reproductive health.

Surgical procedures can be expensive depending on which trimester the woman is in. Planned Parenthood charges up to $1,500-2,000 for those aborting in the late second trimester. Meanwhile, abortion pills can cost up to $800. 

Both surgery and medication are covered by health insurance, so if one has good health insurance, they might be able to pay little to no cost. My main concern is the risk women are taking with their bodies, whether it’s swallowing a pill or undergoing surgery.

Surgical abortion procedures can leave women to experience cramps and little to some bleeding with the help of medical professionals. On the other hand, mifepristone can cause heavier bleeding, fatal infections, drug reactions, or worse, lead to an overdose. Without a medical professional’s guide and safety support during an emotional, yet life-changing moment, a young girl or woman could unintentionally cause harm to herself by not properly taking the pill.

Overall, abortion should be accessible nationwide and all women should be able to freely choose to do what they want with their bodies. Based on the research, I believe if women are going to be taking abortion pills, they should be prescribed by medical professionals, not sold on the shelves of drugstores. However, surgical abortion procedures are the better and safer option.


Featured photo courtesy of Harrison Keely, Wikimedia