Blumenthal: Physician assistants may distribute abortion pill

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issued a formal opinion yesterday that physician assistants and nurse-midwives who are licensed in Connecticut may distribute the controversial new abortion pill mifepristone.

Yale is now offering the pill, also known as RU-486, through Yale Health Plan packages at University Health Services. Blumenthal’s announcement might make it easier to distribute RU-486, because the pill may be prescribed by medical assistants.

The University’s decision to provide RU-486 launched controversy within the Yale community about whether the University should pay for student and staff abortions.

A licensed physician must continue to supervise the distribution of RU-486, which induces pregnant woman to have miscarriages through a few treatments over a couple of days, but medical assistants will have more responsibility in the distribution process. The pill, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September, is not available at pharmacies.

Surgical abortions must still be performed by licensed physicians. But the Public Health Code provision requiring abortions to be performed by doctors does not apply to non-surgical methods of abortion — such as RU-486, Blumenthal wrote in a press release.

University spokesman Tom Conroy said he does not know if Blumenthal’s announcement would have any ramifications for Yale.

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