After the FDA finalized a rule making abortion pills more accessible, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration this week delivered a warning to pharmacists regarding dispensing abortion pills.
The FDA’s new rule “broadens the availability of abortion pills to many more pharmacies, including huge chains and mail-order organizations,” according to the AP. Common pharmacy corporations like CVS and Walgreens are ready to sell the tablets in jurisdictions where abortion is legal.
Pharmacy owners have been cautioned that the new FDA rule is against Florida law by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Abortion is currently outlawed in the Sunshine State after 15 weeks of pregnancy with only a few exceptions, such as saving the mother’s life. The previous 24-week ban has been reduced to a 15-week ban.
A woman must also get an ultrasound, go through counseling, then wait 24 hours after that to have the abortion in order to get one within the Sunshine State’s legal time frame.
Additionally, according to Newsmax, “patients must take the first abortion pill in front of the doctor.” Given that a woman might theoretically be prescribed the abortion pill during a telemedicine appointment and have it mailed to her home, this raises significant issues for those hoping to apply the FDA rule.
To remind pharmacists to “continue to comply with Florida laws that govern the performance of abortions,” the agency issued a Florida Medicaid Health Care Alert on January 11.
The warning says:
“The Agency issues this alert to remind all providers that they are required to continue complying with Florida laws that govern the performance of abortions in light of the recent decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to permit retail pharmacies to dispense Mifepristone,” reads the alert’s official statement.
“Here, two statutes are pertinent. First, Florida Statutes section 390.0111(2) states that only duly licensed medical professionals may execute pregnancy terminations.” Second, according to Florida Statutes section 797.03 (1), “it is prohibited for any anyone to perform or assist in performing an abortion on a person, unless in an emergency care circumstance, outside of a legitimately licensed hospital or abortion clinic or in a doctor’s office.” Criminal sanctions may apply if these provisions are willfully violated. See Florida Statutes 390.0111(10)(a) and 797.03(4) for more information.
In the event that “any indication of illegal behavior that it discovers in its surveys of providers,” the agency issued a warning that it would contact law enforcement.
Abortion rates are declining in the Sunshine State, according to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration.
If Republican governor Ron DeSantis had not defeated Democrat rival Charlie Crist, who made access to abortion a top priority, the figures in Florida may have been very different.