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March 16, 2022

Pressley, Maloney, and Bush Lead Oversight Committee Congresswomen in Urging Biden Administration to Expand Access to Medication Abortion Care

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force; Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform; and Committee Member Rep. Cori Bush led all Democratic Committee Congresswomen in sending a letter to Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The letter commends Secretary Becerra for establishing the Reproductive Health Care Access Task Force and urges the Task Force to take immediate action to protect and expand access to medication abortion care in accordance with the recent elimination of the medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement for the medication abortion drug mifepristone.

“Now that the in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone has been eliminated, the federal government must continue to use every tool at its disposal to ensure that medication abortion is accessible, affordable, and convenient for patients who seek it—including by facilitating the dispensing and safe provision of care via clinics, mail-order pharmacies, retail pharmacies, the mail and other forms of delivery, as well as telehealth,” the Members wrote.

On December 16, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was modifying the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy for mifepristone by eliminating the medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement for the drug—allowing patients to access the drug by mail.   

During the coronavirus pandemic, the use of telehealth in medication abortion care increased, and research has demonstrated that services traditionally accompanying abortions may not be medically necessary or may be effectively conducted via telehealth.  

“Expanding access to medication abortion services outside of clinic, hospital, and medical office settings removes barriers to care for patients with less income, including financial burdens associated with travel, arranging childcare, and taking time away from work,” the Members added.  “For communities where abortion care has historically been pushed out of reach—including for people of color, people with less income, people with disabilities, and people in rural communities—facilitating access to medication abortion care is crucial to advancing reproductive justice.”

In the letter, the Members also requested a meeting with members of the Task Force to discuss its urgent work.

Click here to read the letter. 

In December 2021, Rep. Pressley and Chairwoman Maloney issued statements applauding the FDA’s elimination of medically unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone access.

On February 9, 2021, Rep. Pressley and Chairwoman Maloney led all Democratic Committee congresswomen in sending a letter asking the FDA to lift the medically unnecessary in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone.  

On February 17, 2021, Chairwoman Maloney and Rep. Pressley published an op-ed in ELLE explaining the urgent need for FDA to lift medically unnecessary restrictions on medication abortion care. 

On August 17, 2021, Chairwoman Maloney, Rep. Pressley and Pro-Choice Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Diana DeGette and Barbara Lee led more than 70 of their House Democratic colleagues in introducing a resolution in support of equitable, science-based policies governing access to medication abortion care. 

In June, Congresswoman Pressley, along with U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Veronica Escobar (D-TX) and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI),  introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), bicameral federal legislation to guarantee equal access to abortion care, everywhere.  

As Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus’s Abortion Rights and Access Task Force, Congresswoman Pressley has fought tirelessly to protect comprehensive reproductive health care for all, including abortion care. 

  • Over the course of her first term serving in Congress, Congresswoman Pressley has filed amendments every year to repeal Hyde from annual Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bills and in July published a Medium post on the importance of doing so.
  • In April, Rep. Pressley, along with Congresswomen Barbara Lee (CA-13), Diana DeGette (CO-01) and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), led a group of 131 Democratic members in reintroducing the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act or the EACH Act, which would repeal the Hyde Amendment and ensure that all women, regardless of income, insurance or zip code, can make personal reproductive health care decisions without interference from politicians.
  • In May 2020, she led more than 155 Members of Congress in calling on House Democratic leadership to ensure that any future COVID-19 relief packages rejected Republican efforts to use the public health crisis to diminish abortion access.
  • In May 2019, she led more than 100 colleagues in introducing H.Con.Res.40, a resolution reaffirming the House of Representative’s support for Roe v. Wade. In June 2019, Rep. Pressley introduced H.R. 3296, the Affordability is Access Act, to make oral contraception available without a prescription. 
  • In September 2016, as a member of the Boston City Council, Pressley championed a resolution calling on Congress and President Obama to repeal the Hyde Amendment and reinstate insurance coverage for abortion services.