In some Republican-led states, lawmakers are working to push through legislation that would restrict abortions by medication.
As much of medical care has switched to virtual models during the pandemic, the option for an abortion done through medication has also become increasingly prevalent. About 40 percent of all abortions in the country are done through medication, The Associated Press reports.
In Ohio, lawmakers have passed a bill that would ban abortions by medication and charge doctors who prescribe the abortion-inducing drugs with a felony. A judge, however, has blocked the law from going into effect in response to a lawsuit.
In Montana, abortion opponents expect Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte to sign a ban on telemedicine abortions.
Rep. Sharon Greef, the Montana bill’s sponsor, says abortion drugs should not be “part of a do-it-yourself abortion far from a clinic or hospital.”
Meanwhile, abortion supporters say telemedicine abortions give needed medical access to rural residents who may not be able to get to an abortion clinic.
“When we look at what state legislatures are doing, it becomes clear there’s no medical basis for these restrictions,” said Elisabeth Smith, chief counsel for state policy and advocacy with the Center for Reproductive Rights. “They’re only meant to make it more difficult to access this incredibly safe medication and sow doubt into the relationship between patients and providers.”
Anti-abortion advocates also support legislation that would forbid abortion pills to be delivered by mail and require doctors to tell women undergoing the abortion by medication that the process can be reversed.
Abortion by medication has been available in the U.S. since 2000.
“Beyond its exceptionally safe and effective track record, what makes medication abortion so significant is how convenient and private it can be,” said Megan Donovan, The Guttmacher Institute’s senior policy manager. “That’s exactly why it is still subject to onerous restrictions,” she argued.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.