Existing Ohio Law Protecting Unborn Babies Blocks FDA Approval of Pharmacy Distribution of Abortion Pills

The “Abortion Pill,” also known as RU-486, could previously only be prescribed by medical professionals in the United States. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) officially authorized pharmacy distribution of RU-486, but an Ohio law passed in 2004 forbids pharmacies from distributing these harmful pills.

The drug, commonly known as Mifepristone, has recently received FDA approval for pharmacy distribution, and retailers like Walgreens and CVS across the U.S. have already declared they will stock it. In Ohio, however, only doctors with specific training and certification can offer, sell, dispense, or administer the drugs.

Anyone who violates the 2004 law faces a fourth-degree felony for unlawful distribution of an abortion-inducing drug.

According to the FDA, Mifepristone is a medication typically used with Misoprostol to bring about a medical abortion during pregnancy.

Misoprostol, the second drug taken to induce an abortion, has historically been easily obtained at pharmacies through the normal prescription process.

Ohio Right to Life is very clear about its position on abortion, including the distribution of abortion pills.

“It is essential when discussing the issue we remind ourselves of what abortion is: the purposeful killing of innocent human lives in the womb. Ohio Right to Life stands against any form of abortion from conception onward, including the abortion pill, and will continue fighting to end its practice in Ohio,” Elizabeth Marbach Whitmarsh, director of communications for Ohio Right to Life told The Ohio Star.

Pro-Choice Ohio has also made its views clear.

“Every Ohioan who needs abortion access should be able to get it without judgment or delay in their community, and we will continue to fight each day to make that a reality,” Pro-Choice Ohio deputy director Jamie Miracle said.

Miracle continued to say that Ohio’s law adds to the barriers women face in the state to get abortions.

“The FDA followed the science and lifted one of the unnecessary and outdated restrictions on medication abortion – the in-person dispensing requirement. Unfortunately, Ohioans will not be able to benefit from this regulatory change because Ohio law states that Mifepristone must be dispensed only by physicians and not by any other medical professional. Restrictions or bans on medication abortion have no basis in science, only politics,” Miracle said.

Although the FDA has given the go-ahead to retail pharmacies, neighborhood drug shops, and large chains to distribute the pills throughout the U.S., patients still require a prescription from a doctor; nevertheless, an individual can go to a retail pharmacy rather than obtain it through a particular distributor. Due to the 2004 law, Ohioans are exempt from the approval and can only obtain the pill through certain clinics and not from a retail pharmacy.

Ohio law requires a patient seeking an abortion to have two appointments with a physician specialist at a health center, spaced at least 24 hours apart.

The FDA’s clearance has disappointed proponents of the right to life.

“The FDA allowing Mifepristone to be distributed via retail pharmacies truly displays how depraved the left has become on this issue. We are speaking about medication designed with the sole intention of killing babies in the womb, and now the left is pushing it as though it is the same as taking an ibuprofen for a headache. How sick does culture have to be not to see the evil of that?” Marbach Whitmarsh told The Star.

The group is thankful that the Ohio law accomplished what lawmakers intended.

“Ohio Right to Life is pleased to see pro-life legislation at work doing what it intended: protecting the preborn. This situation shows that even the smallest details of pro-life laws matter and can save lives. However, we know that this is not nearly far enough. We must end abortion from conception to ensure equal protection for every Ohioan, born and preborn,” Marbach Whitmarsh told The Star.

Ohio law prohibits abortions after 21 weeks and 6 days. Governor Mike Dewine signed a statute in 2019 outlawing abortion beyond six weeks. A Hamilton County Judge put the statute on hold while legislators resolve a constitutional challenge.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Abortion Pills” by Robin Marty. CC BY 2.0.


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One Thought to “Existing Ohio Law Protecting Unborn Babies Blocks FDA Approval of Pharmacy Distribution of Abortion Pills”

  1. Joe Blow

    Awesome! Tennessee needs this law.