SILVER SPRING, Md. – Like the Biden administration challenges a Texas law restrict abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood for residents of Maryland, Virginia and DC is start a program focused on patients accessing home care.
Dr. Serina Floyd, medical director of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, said the near total ban on abortions in Texas highlights a need for expanded services, from telehealth to mail-in prescriptions for medical abortions. His group is only the second Planned Parenthood site in the United States to offer the service, following the example of St. Louis.
Floyd believes the approach will become more mainstream as abortion rights come into question.
“Whether we’re talking about those who no longer have access to it in Texas and have to travel out of state, and for those in the surrounding area, depending on the licensing setup, individuals from anywhere in the country can provide that care to individuals,” Floyd pointed out.
This week, the Biden administration filed an emergency petition with a federal judge in Austin to block enforcement of Texas’ abortion ban, which makes no exceptions for rape, abuse sex or incest.
On Wednesday, the attorneys general of Maryland and Virginia joined others across the country in filing a legal brief supporting the Justice Department’s challenge to the Texas ban, calling it “unconstitutional.”
Floyd describes the law as “devastating” because it allows private citizens to bring civil lawsuits against anyone who helps a Texan woman terminate a pregnancy.
“It allows private citizens to enforce an abortion ban,” Floyd observed. “It can be a family member, an abusive partner, even an out-of-state stranger who can sue a provider or support person. It can be anyone. what, from someone helping financially, to even someone driving a patient.”
Floyd thinks the Texas law could lead to changes in medical abortion rules. According to Guttmacher Instituteabortion-inducing drugs accounted for one-third of all abortions in the United States in 2017. However, 19 states require a clinician to be physically present when the drug is taken.
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