Chemical abortion is the new normal. While some states are fighting to protect women and their children from the harms caused by these at-home mail-order abortions, other states are expanding the opportunities for access. FamilyRestoration previously invited a medical doctor to offer her opinion about this concern – see What Every Woman Needs to Know about Medication Abortion.
Mail-order chemical abortion is so serious, and so promoted by the current federal administration, that the United States Postal Service (USPS) requested legal guidance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the tricky concern of sending abortion drugs through the mail, especially to states that have restricted the use of such chemicals to achieve abortion. As of January 4, 2022, according to the DOJ, USPS can continue to deliver prescription abortion medication, even in the face of the June 2022 Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs that overturned the landmark abortion rights decision of Roe, moving abortion regulations to the individual states. The department’s Office of Legal Counsel said in an opinion sought by USPS that the mailing of mifepristone and misoprostol, commonly used to terminate pregnancies, did not violate an 1873 law known as the Comstock Act, which prohibited mailing medications for abortion.
Today, more than half of all U.S. abortions are chemical abortions – those abortions which are medically induced through a two-pill regimen that requires a prescription (for the painful expulsion of the dead gestated child at home) but does not involve surgery. Now, a permanent rule change by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will allow retail pharmacies to fill prescriptions for the drugs, making the once onerous process of obtaining the abortion pills much easier in states that permit the procedure. But in states with strict abortion bans, pregnant women will find it challenging to get their hands on the medication.
Policy groups are turning their attention to state lawmakers and a federal lawsuit to restrict access to abortion medication after this FDA rule change. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit in November on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine seeking to reverse the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, granted in 2000. Studies have found that mifepristone and misoprostol severely harm women.
To protect women, the FDA previously required mifepristone to be given directly by the physician, and taken in front of a clinician to be able to assess for some potentially severe side effects. Pressure from pro-abortion groups has caused the FDA to change that position which was designed to protect women’s health. Patients can now request the chemical abortion pills via a virtual meeting with their physician. They then can either pick up the medication at their local pharmacies or have it mailed to their homes. Ultrasounds, physical exams and blood testing are no longer required, which all effectively remove protections for women undergoing chemical abortions.
Some states want to protect women and their children. For example, Texas has moved to legally require a pregnant minor to seek approval from her parent or guardian to obtain birth control from federally funded clinics, a federal judge in the state has ruled. As another example, the University of Idaho says staff can offer condoms for STDs – but not birth control. Title X (the federal grant program which was created in 1970 to provide family planning and preventive health services) was ruled a violation of state law and federal parental rights by a federal judge in December of 2022 in the case of Deanda v Becerra. There the plaintiff successfully argued that applying Title X in this way vetoed the fundamental constitutionally protected rights of parents to protect the best interests their children.
Chemical abortion is the new normal. Abortion can now be mail-ordered, and women and children will be harmed by it. Understanding this information and its legal and medical complexities is an absolute must for understanding the effects on the family.
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