New York City becomes first government to distribute free abortion pills, officials say

New York City launched a plan Wednesday to become the first city in the country to distribute free abortion drugs at its health clinics.

A sexual health clinic in the Bronx began offering free chemical abortion pills on Wednesday and three other clinics will do so before the end of the year, a plan that Democratic Mayor Eric Adams declared “no other city in the nation or in the world ” have. thrown out. The efforts are part of a $1.2 million City fund for sexual health services.

“For too long, health and medical care have been focused on men,” Adams said at a news conference on women’s health on Tuesday. “If men had periods, Pap smears and menopause, they would have paid vacations. And if men could get pregnant, we wouldn’t see Congress trying to pass laws restricting abortion.”

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams launched a plan Wednesday to become the first city in the country to distribute free abortion drugs at its health clinics.
(Screenshot/YouTube)

City officials said the push for sexual health clinics in the city is an attempt to counter restrictions on abortion after the law was repealed. Roe v. Wade last year. Abortion pills are available at the city’s 11 public hospitals, but the new plan extends them to four public health clinics, where they will be provided free of charge.

Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said the free abortion pills will be “open to anyone.”

“These are city dollars that are earmarked for this specific purpose, and we are the first in the nation to do that,” Vasan said.

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New York City officials said free abortion pills "open to anyone."

New York City officials said the free abortion pills would be “open to anyone.”
(REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez)

Abortion pills are taken to terminate the fetus during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Medical studies and data show that abortion pills have a complication rate four times higher than surgical abortions due to concerns about bleeding and heavy bleeding.

The rate of emergency room visits after the use of abortion pills rose more than 500% between 2002 and 2015, according to government data compiled by the Charlotte Lozier Institute. The pills are often taken without medical supervision.

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New York City Mayor Adams said Tuesday that "If men could get pregnant, we wouldn't see Congress trying to pass laws restricting abortion."

New York City Mayor Adams said Tuesday that “if men could get pregnant, we wouldn’t see Congress trying to pass laws restricting abortion.”
((Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images))

The Food and Drug Administration has taken a series of steps to deregulate abortion pills in the midst of the Biden administration. The agency announced in January that it will allow retail pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens to dispense abortion drugs as certified health care providers prescribe the pills to women.

A little over a year ago, the agency made permanent its pandemic-era decision to allow doctors to prescribe abortion pills via remote appointments and mail them to women through certified providers.

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The popularity of abortion pills has risen steadily since they were approved in the US in 2000. The pills accounted for more than half of US first-time abortions in 2020, likely to increase after the Roe override and deregulation efforts by the FDA. This does not include the use of black market abortion pills, which have grown in popularity since the ouster of Roe.

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