Texas Senate Bill 4 makes it a crime to send abortion pills to patients. Taking preventative measures, this Austin mother ordered three packs of abortion pills.
PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — In the face of continued legislative efforts to ban abortions, women are now seeking abortion drugs on the Internet.
Just days after Senate Bill 8, also known as the Heartbeat Act, took effect, Austin’s mother, Angela Vega, decided to take matters into her own hands.
“About two days after the bill came into effect, I was like, ‘Nuh uh’, I started to understand, what are my options?” said Vega.
She came across plancpills.org, a website sharing information on how to access abortion pills online.
Although Vega is currently not pregnant, she thought it best to be prepared in case she or a friend needed it.
“Now we have to add this extra thing to our arsenal of having a plan, Plan C,” Vega said. “So having self-administered abortion medication in our medicine cabinet.”
After completing an online questionnaire, without consulting a doctor, a prescription was created and sent to a pharmacy in India.
She said the process was quick and easy and decided to try another provider. Now she has three prescriptions for mifepristone and misoprostol. The pills, when taken together, terminate a pregnancy.
“For a woman, a friend, a family member, a neighbor who is in need and who needs these pills and who does not have two weeks to wait or who does not have the 105 or 200 dollars for get those kind of pills,” she added. .
Mifepristone is taken first to block the flow of progesterone to the developing pregnancy. After that, misoprostol is taken to make the uterus contract and push out what’s inside. According to Plan C, this usually involves a few hours of heavy bleeding and cramping.
Plan C said that after the adoption of SB 8, the company saw a significant number of women seeking information on how to get their hands on abortion pills.
“We saw a huge increase, in fact, an almost unimaginable percentage increase,” said Francine Coeytaux, founder of Plan C. “We knew this was going to happen because we knew about this law.”
While Vega feels she is doing the right thing, because of SB 8 she faces the risk of being sued. As of December 2, SB 4, which the legislature passed in the second special session, comes into effect.
This bill makes it illegal to give abortion medication to a woman, makes it illegal to send abortion pills through the mail, and prohibits abortion after seven weeks.
While some disagree with SB 4, life advocates believe this bill was the right move.
“Chemical abortions are just as dangerous and reprehensible as surgical abortions, because ultimately what happens is that a single human being is killed, whether by that surgery or by the drugs,” said Rebecca Parma, senior legislative associate at Texas Right to Life.
While the Texas Heartbeat Act carries civil penalties, violating SB 4 carries stiffer criminal penalties that could land violators in jail.
Abigail Aiken, an associate professor of public affairs at the University of Texas, said passing the two bills was a strategic move by Texas lawmakers.
“If Senate Bill 8 is barred or struck down by the courts, then Senate Bill 4 is still in place,” Aiken added. “If the six-week limit is lifted, there will still be a seven-week limit for medical abortion in place.”
While the FDA has yet to approve misoprostol for a pregnant woman, Aiken said a study shows these combination pills will successfully end a pregnancy in 95% of cases. Less than 1% required a blood transfusion or antibiotics.
“It’s good, solid evidence that this is a safe and effective way to end a pregnancy when you can’t get to the clinic,” Aiken said.
In the United States, a prescription is required to obtain these pills. Experts agree that it is always best to consult a doctor.
Despite the risks, Vega stands by her decision.
“They want us to be afraid of the idea that by being a good person, helping to facilitate health care that is now banned and given to anti-choice and anti-abortion vigilantes, that we will sit quietly, that we won’t say anything,” she said.
Vega has no intention of keeping quiet.
On November 1, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments. This will help judges decide whether this new abortion law should be blocked.
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