Judge waives requirement for in-person visit to get abortion pill during pandemic

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A federal judge on Monday waived the requirement for an in-person visit to a hospital, clinic or medical office to get an abortion pill during the coronavirus pandemic. 

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang, an Obama appointee, ruled that “in-person requirements” for those seeking an abortion and the drug mifepristone are a “substantial obstacle” and unconstitutional amid the ongoing health crisis. 

“By causing certain patients to decide between forgoing or substantially delaying abortion care, or risking exposure to COVID-19 for themselves, their children, and family members, the In-Person Requirements present a serious burden to many abortion patients,” Chuang wrote in the ruling obtained by The Associated Press.

Under the ruling, health care providers will be permitted to mail or deliver mifepristone to patients as long as the Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) public health emergency continues. HHS Secretary Alex Azar first declared the emergency in January.