A new law that limits when the abortion pill can be prescribed and prohibits it from being sent through the mail went into effect in Texas on Thursday, further establishing the state as one of the most pro-life states in the nation.
The law, known as SB4, narrows the time during which doctors can give the abortion pill to pregnant women from 70 days (10 weeks) to 49 days (seven weeks). It also prohibits manufacturers, suppliers and doctors from delivering the pill “by courier, delivery, or mail service.” The law requires the pill to be administered in person and that a follow-up visit occur, too.
The abortion pill often is referred to as a “chemical” or “medical” abortion.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed SB4 in September.
“This year, we have witnessed the Biden Administration temporarily lift restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs and heard from those who want to permanently roll back safety protocols in place to pregnant women. We will not allow this to happen in Texas,” Abbott said. “... We have taken monumental steps to save babies from the ravages of abortion – and we will continue to ensure Texas remains a pro-life state.”
The law went into effect even as another pro-life law – which prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected – remains in effect. It is being challenged at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The abortion pill involves two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone, causing the lining of the uterus to end the unborn baby’s life. Misoprostol sparks contractions and the delivery of the dead baby. The two drugs can be taken only early in the pregnancy, up to 48 hours apart.
The law’s legislative findings say the drugs can endanger a woman’s health. Mifepristone “presents significant medical complications including, but not limited to, uterine hemorrhage, viral infections, abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, headache, fatigue, and pelvic inflammatory disease,” the findings say. Further, the law says, “the failure rate and risk of complications increases with advancing gestational age.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Sofiia Petrova
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.