Texas and other states crack down on abortion pills

Data: Guttmacher and Axios research; Map: Jacques Schrag/Axios

As the U.S. Supreme Court signals the potential end of Roe v. Wade, abortion rights activists are advertising abortion pills as a potential option in places where clinics might have to close — but Texas and other red states are already cracking down on them.

Driving the news: A new Texas law went into effect this month that prohibits access to abortion pills after seven weeks of pregnancy.

  • The law also makes it illegal to send abortion pills through the mail.
  • This is in addition to the ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, which the Supreme Court last week refused to block.

The big picture: Nearly half of US states have banned or severely restricted abortion pills – two drugs named mifepristone and misoprostol – and more may soon follow.

  • Prior to the pandemic, the United States Food and Drug Administration said patients seeking abortion pills had to obtain the drug in person at hospitals or medical facilities.
  • In April, the Biden administration lifted that requirement, opening up telemedicine access. The FDA is expected to decide next week whether this option will remain in place.
  • Indiana bans pills after 10 weeks. The same is true for Oklahoma and Montana, although the courts have blocked these laws.
  • The Wyoming State Senate in March passed a bill to ban abortion pills altogether.
  • In Iowa and Ohio, laws require a physician to be present when a patient takes the drug. However, federal judges have blocked those laws, saying the requirement places an “undue burden” on women.

At least one Austin-area mother has stocked up on abortion pills due to Texas laws.

  • “Now we have to add this extra thing to our arsenal of having a plan, Plan C,” Angela Vega told KVUE in October, which she described as “having self-managed abortion meds in our medicine cabinet. “.

What they say : “I think virtually every conservative state could expect to see similar legislation in 2022,” Elizabeth Nash, a state policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute, told Axios.

And after: Some campaigners have pointed to new options that circumvent some telemedicine restrictions and operate in a legal gray area, including an online provider, Aid Access, founded by a Dutch doctor in 2018, which will ship abortion pills internationally.

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