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Pete Buttigieg advocates for over-the-counter abortion drugs, fewer restrictions; FDA warns of health risks

The drugs have been linked to some deaths

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate and the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, wants abortion drugs to be available over the counter and without Food and Drug Administration risk-mitigation restrictions, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The FDA, however, warned that there are serious safety risks associated with the drugs that require a higher level of medical oversight, which is why it currently places the abortion drug mifepristone under the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy program.

Mary Margaret Olohan of the Daily Caller News Foundation reported:

The REMS program mitigates these risks by "requiring healthcare providers who prescribe mifepristone to be certified in the Mifepristone REMS Program; ensuring that mifepristone for medical termination of early pregnancy is only dispensed in certain healthcare settings by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber; and informing patients about the risk of serious complications associated with mifepristone," the FDA Office of Media Affairs told the DCNF.

Buttigieg said he believes the drug should be available to patients over the counter and that the REMS program should be ignored in pursuit of increased access to abortion, saying the drug is known to be safe.

"Steps we can take in the interim to improve access to abortion include expanding access to abortion via telehealth, eliminating the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) warning that ignores decades of evidence indicating that these medications are safe, and expanding the types of medical professionals able to prescribe them," Buttigieg said in response to a candidate survey question from The New York Times last month.

Several other Democratic presidential candidates (Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, Andrew Yang, Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson) support making abortion drugs available over the counter, according to the Times survey. Former Vice President Joe Biden declined to answer, and other candidates said their position was "unclear." No Democratic candidate opposed over-the-counter abortion drugs.

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