Anti-choice extremists declare war on abortion drugs: report

HuffPost published a series of articles titled “The End of Roe”, examining some of the many dire consequences of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning Roe vs. Wade — which, judging by a 5-4 majority draft opinion leaked written by Judge Samuel Alito and published by Politico on May 2, is likely to happen with the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The consequences of reversal deer will go far beyond banning abortion in a long list of red states, giving the socially conservative majority in the High Court the green light to also attack everything from contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut) to same-sex marriage (Oberfell v. Hodges) to homosexual sexual practices (Lawrence v. Texas) to interracial marriage (Love against Virginia).

Reversal deer will open the floodgates of Christian nationalist hell, and that includes ban abortion drugs in GOP-controlled states. Journalist Alanna Vagiano addresses this very real possibility in an article written for HuffPost’s “The End of Roe” series which was published June 17.

“There’s a new war on drugs looming, but it won’t involve addictive narcotics or SWAT teams slamming doors,” Vagiano warns. “Instead, the coming battle will be over drugs that are safer than Tylenol and approved by the Food and Drug Administration: abortion drugs.”

Far-right Christian fundamentalists hate abortion drugs as vehemently as they hate birth control pills, IUDs and condoms. Their hatred of contraception is ironic because contraception prevents unwanted pregnancies and therefore prevents the need for abortions; no organization has done more to reduce the number of abortions in the United States than Planned Parenthood, which, through its family planning services, does much to help women avoid unplanned pregnancies.

But the Christian right doesn’t just oppose abortion, it opposes family planning in general.

“Anti-choice lawmakers and other abortion opponents are banking on the fact that you don’t know what medical abortion is,” observes Vagiano. “Many have already started tackling access to abortion pills explicitly: In the first three months of 2022 alone, more than 100 measures to restrict medical abortion were introduced in red states across the country – in plus dozens of other extreme abortion restrictions that went into effect this year… With or without deer, anti-choice lawmakers know that the next chapter in abortion care will center on medical abortion. And they quietly start waging a war, hoping to cut off access to a safe and effective method of abortion before most Americans even know it.

Vagiano laments that in some red states, “obtaining abortion pills from a clinic” is becoming “increasingly difficult.”

“In recent years, anti-choice lawmakers have intensified their efforts to restrict access to in-person clinical care using targeted regulation of abortion providers, also known as TRAP laws, and other medically unnecessary restrictions, such as state-imposed waiting periods between seeing and getting prescribed pills, necessary advice that isn’t based on science, or laws that force people to listen fetal activity before accessing an abortion,” notes Vagiano. “In states like Oklahoma and Texas, which have extreme abortion bans, people are forced to take multi-day trips out of the state just to access a handful of abortion pills.”

Vagiano points out that anti-abortion groups like Susan B. Anthony List and Americans United for Life have publicly stated that restricting abortion drugs is a priority for them, adding that “19 states” in the United States have “banned the prescription of abortion drugs.” medical abortion via mail or through virtual telehealth visits.

“This year alone, Missouri lawmakers introduced bills that would equate mailing abortion pills with drug trafficking,” Vagiano says. “In Kentucky, lawmakers have created a public database that lists the names of medical abortion providers so people can anonymously report any alleged violations of state abortion laws. Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill making it a crime to send a medical abortion through the mail, punishable by a $50,000 fine or up to 20 years in prison – a similar law passed in Texas the last year. And all of the draconian abortion bans in places like Texas, Oklahoma, and Idaho apply to both procedural and medical abortions.

But proponents of reproductive freedom aren’t giving up, and that includes Plan C – a group that offers information on obtaining abortion pills.

Elisa Wells, co-founder and co-director of Plan C, told HuffPost, “In the face of these unjust laws and unjust court rulings, here’s what we want people to know: there’s something you can do. We’ll tell you where to find these pills, how to use them, how to get help, and what you need to know about the landscape surrounding the use of self-directed abortion pills, including the potential legal risk.

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