Use of drugs to end pregnancies is on the rise
A group that supports Abortion Rights says drugs are used to perform more than half of America’s abortions rather than operations.
The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research group, said earlier this year that the percentage is increasing every year.
Medicines are taken in the form of pills for the medical termination of pregnancies.
Recent Federal regulations allow women living in abortion-restricted states to receive abortion pills from state to state.
A woman from South Dakota State said The Associated Press she had to make two trips across state lines to get abortion pills last year.
The woman did not want to reveal her name. She said the pills allowed her to end an unexpected and high-risk pregnancy.
A US Supreme Court opinion leaked this week suggested it would allow every state to ban abortion. And anti-abortion activists and politicians say cross-border travel, online doctor visits and pills in the mail are what they’ll try to stop next.
“Medical abortion will be where access to abortion will be decided,” said Mary Ziegler. She is a professor at Florida State University College of Law. Ziegler specializes in reproductive rights. “It will be the battlefield that will decide the applicability of abortion bans.”
The use of abortion pills has increased in the United States since 2000. In that year, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved mifepristone. It is the main drug used in medical abortions.
The FDA removed the requirement for women to receive abortion pills in person during the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Mail delivery is also now allowed nationwide.
These changes have helped create online services that offer information about obtaining abortion pills and appointments to get a arrangement.
The unidentified South Dakota woman discovered for the first time that the state’s only abortion clinical couldn’t accept her in time for a medical abortion. She was able to find a service online that advised her to travel to Minnesota for a phone call with a doctor. A week later, she returned to Minnesota for the pills.
South Dakota is among several states in which Republican lawmakers and leaders have moved to impose restrictions on abortion pills in recent months. Other states include Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. The AP reports that 19 states require a medical professional to be physically present when abortion pills are administered to a patient.
In addition to crossing state lines, women can also access international online sites. pharmacies, said Greer Donley. She is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Some women also get pills sent across states without restrictions.
“It’s going to be much harder for states to control abortion to access“Donley said. “The question is how is this going to be enforced?
Sue Leibel is a member of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion organization. She said it’s an issue that’s growing in importance for Republican state lawmakers.
“It’s a short story frontier and the states are wrestle with with enforcement mechanisms,” she said.
Abortion opponents say they don’t want to take legal action against women who seek abortions.
Instead, Leibel suggested that the next target for state law enforcement should be the pharmacies, organizations and clinics that supply the abortion pills. She also said abortion rights opponents should value the election of a presidential candidate who can work to change FDA policy.
But, Donley, the law school professor, fears state lawmakers may seek to take legal action against the women who receive the pills.
“Many anti-abortion lawmakers might realize that the only way to enforce these laws is to sue the pregnant person themselves,” she said.
I am Dan Novak.
Dan Novak adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on reporting by The Associated Press.
words in this story
Abortion – nm a medical procedure used to terminate a pregnancy and cause the death of the fetus pills
regulation — nm a formal rule or law that says how something should be done
arrangement -not. a written message from a doctor officially telling someone to use a drug, therapy
clinical -not. a place where people can receive medical care
pharmacy -not. a store where people sell prescription drugs
to access -not. the ability to get something
frontier — nm the limits of knowledge in a particular area
glean — v. to struggle with something