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Next battle over access to abortion will focus on pills

It took two trips on state lines, navigating icy roads and a patchwork of state laws, for a 32-year-old South Dakota woman to get abortion pills last year. Related video above: Harris: Women’s rights in America ‘under attack’ For those seeking an abortion like this, such trips, along with the pills sent by mail, will matter if the Supreme Court follows the leaked draft opinion, the which would overturn Roe vs. Wade’s landmark decision and allow individual states to ban the process. The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was concerned about her family’s safety, said the abortion pills allowed her to end an unexpected high-risk pregnancy and remain committed to her two children. But anti-abortion activists and politicians say These cross-border journeys, remote doctor visits and pill deliveries are what they will try to stop later. “Medical abortion will be where access to abortion is decided,” said Mary Ziegler, a professor at the Florida State University College of Law who specializes in reproductive rights. “This will be the battlefield that will decide how enforceable the abortion bans are.” The use of abortion pills has been on the rise in the United States since 2000, when the Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone – the main drug used in medical abortions. More than half of all abortions in the United States are now done with pills rather than surgery, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. The FDA last year lifted a long-standing requirement for women to take abortion pills in person. Mail delivery is also now allowed throughout the country. These moves have pushed online services offering abortion pills information and prescription advice. After a woman in South Dakota found that the state’s only abortion clinic could not schedule her for a medical abortion in time, she found an online service called Just The Pill, which advised her to go to Minnesota for a telephone consultation with a doctor. . A week later, he returned to Minnesota for the pills. “She got the first one almost immediately in her car, then cried as she drove home.” “I felt like I had lost a pregnancy,” she said. “I love my husband and I love my children and I knew exactly what I had to say goodbye to and that was a really horrible thing I had to do.” Tennessee and Oklahoma, where Republicans have moved to limit access to abortion pills in recent months. South Dakota Gov. Christie Noem said additional, personal visits are needed for the pills and a ban on sending them by mail to protect women and rescue “unborn children.” A total of 19 states require the physical presence of a physician when administering abortion pills to a patient. Beyond crossing state borders, women can also turn to online pharmacies internationally, said Greer Donley, a professor of reproductive health care at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. “Some women also take prescription pills that are passed through states without restrictions.” It allows someone to have an abortion without a direct provider. It will be much more difficult for states to control access to abortions, “she said. imposed? ” Sue Leibel, state policy director for Susan B. Anthony List, a leading anti-abortion group, acknowledged that it was an issue “involved” in the state’s Republican legislature. “It’s a new frontier and states are struggling with “The advice I always give – if you close the front door, the pills will come in the back door.” Opponents of abortion say they have no intention of persecuting women seeking abortion. The next target for state enforcement should be pharmacies, organizations and clinics that provide abortion pills, and he said that opponents of abortion rights should focus on electing a presidential candidate The FDA said a scientific review supported expanding access to medicines and found that complications were rare. The agency has reported 26 drug-related deaths since 2000, although not all can be attributed directly to medication due to existing health conditions and other factors. However, with new legal battles on the horizon and abortion seekers To get the process done, Donley, a law school professor, was concerned that state lawmakers might eventually turn their attention to women taking the pills. “Many anti-abortion lawmakers may realize that “The only way to enforce these laws is to expel the pregnant woman,” she said.

It took two trips to the state lines, navigating icy roads and a patchwork of state laws, for a 32-year-old South Dakota woman to take abortion pills last year.

Related video above: Harris: Women’s rights in America “under attack”

For those seeking an abortion like this, such trips, along with the pills sent by mail, will matter if the Supreme Court follows the leaked draft opinion, which would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision and allow individual states to prohibit the process. The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was concerned about her family’s safety, said the abortion pills allowed her to end an unexpected high-risk pregnancy and remain committed to her two children.

But anti-abortion activists and politicians say these cross-border journeys, long-distance doctor visits and pill deliveries are what they will try to stop later.

“Drug abortion will be where access to abortion is decided,” said Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University Law School who specializes in reproductive rights. “This will be the battlefield that will decide how enforceable the abortion bans are.”

The use of abortion pills has been on the rise in the United States since 2000, when the Food and Drug Administration approved mifepristone – the main drug used in medical abortions. More than half of all abortions in the United States are now done with pills rather than surgery, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

The FDA last year lifted a long-standing requirement for women to take abortion pills in person. Mail delivery is now allowed throughout the country.

These moves have pushed online services that offer information about taking abortion pills and prescribing tips. After a woman in South Dakota found that the state’s only abortion clinic could not schedule her for a medical abortion in time, she found an online service called Just The Pill, which advised her to go to Minnesota for a telephone consultation with a doctor. . A week later, he returned to Minnesota for the pills.

She got the first one almost immediately in her car and then cried as she was going home.

“I felt like I had lost a pregnancy,” she said. “I love my husband and I love my children and I knew exactly what I had to say goodbye to and that was a really horrible thing I had to do.”

South Dakota is among several states, including Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio, Tennessee and Oklahoma, where Republicans have moved to limit access to abortion pills in recent months. South Dakota Gov. Christie Noem said additional, personal visits are needed for the pills and a ban on sending them by mail to protect women and rescue “unborn children.” A total of 19 states require a physician to be physically present when administering abortion pills to a patient.

In addition to overstepping the bounds of the state, women can also turn to online pharmacies based internationally, said Greer Donley, a professor of reproductive health care at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. Some women also take prescription pills that are shipped through states without restrictions.

“It allows someone to have an abortion without a direct provider role. It will be much more difficult for states to control access to abortions,” he said, adding, “The question is how will it be enforced?”

Sue Leibel, director of state policy for Susan B. Anthony List, a leading anti-abortion group, acknowledged that this was an issue that “preoccupied” Republican lawmakers.

“This is a new frontier and states are fighting with enforcement mechanisms,” he said, adding, “The advice I always give – if you close the front door, the pills will go in the back door.”

Opponents of abortion say they have no intention of persecuting women seeking abortion.

Instead, Leibel suggested that the next target for state enforcement should be pharmacies, agencies and clinics that provide abortion pills. He also said that opponents of abortion rights should focus on electing a presidential candidate who will work to overturn the FDA decision.

The FDA said a scientific review supported expanding access to the drugs and found that complications were rare. The agency has reported 26 drug-related deaths since 2000, although not all can be attributed directly to the drug due to existing health conditions and other factors.

However, with new legal battles on the horizon and abortion seekers making greater efforts to make the process a success, Donley, a law school professor, was concerned that state lawmakers might eventually turn their attention to women who receive abortions. pills.

“Many anti-abortion lawmakers may realize that the only way to enforce these laws is to prosecute the pregnant woman herself,” she said.

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