This will change the moment we get a GOP president again, but the FDA is approving abortion pills on a permanent basis for use up to ten weeks of pregnancy for women. The larger issue: the second we get a GOP Congress and a GOP president, this goes away in a post-Roe world, and abortion medicine has already been criminalized in 19 states.
The federal government on Thursday permanently lifted a major restriction on access to abortion pills. It will allow patients to receive the medication by mail instead of requiring them to obtain the pills in person from specially certified health providers.
The decision, by the Food and Drug Administration, comes as the Supreme Court is considering whether to roll back abortion rights or even overturn its landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that made abortion legal nationwide.
The F.D.A.’s action means that medication abortion, an increasingly common method authorized in the United States for pregnancies up to 10 weeks’ gestation, will become more available to women who find it difficult to travel to an abortion provider or prefer to terminate a pregnancy in the privacy of their homes. It allows patients to have a telemedicine appointment with a provider who can prescribe abortion pills and send them to the patient by mail.
Earlier this year, for the duration of the pandemic, the F.D.A. temporarily lifted the in-person requirement on mifepristone, the first of two drugs used to end a pregnancy. The decision to make this change permanent is likely to deepen the already polarizing divisions between conservative and liberal states on abortion. In 19 states, mostly in the South and the Midwest, telemedicine visits for medication abortion are banned, and these and other conservative states can be expected to pass other laws to further curtail access to abortion pills.
Yet other states, like California and New York, which have taken steps in recent years to further solidify abortion rights, are expected to increase the availability of the method and provide opportunities for women in states with restrictions to obtain abortion pills by traveling to a state that allows them.
“It’s really significant,” said Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University. “Telehealth abortions are much easier for both providers and patients, and even in states that want to do it, there have been limits on how available it is.”
So far this year, presumably in anticipation of such a decision, six states banned the mailing of pills, seven states passed laws requiring pills to be obtained in person from a provider, and four states passed laws to set the limit on medication abortion at earlier than 10 weeks’ gestation, said Elizabeth Nash, the interim associate director of state issues for the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.
The current practice is that women who live in states that don’t allow telemedicine for abortion must travel to a state that does — although they don’t have to visit a clinic. They may be in any location within that state for their telehealth visit, even a car, and may receive the pills at any address in the state.
But legal experts said they expected supporters of abortion rights to try to find ways to make the pills available without requiring a patient to travel, including possibly filing legal challenges to state laws banning telemedicine for abortion.
In data released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42 percent of all abortions — and 54 percent of abortions before 10 weeks — occurred with medication in 2019, the most recent year for which C.D.C. data is available. (The report represents most of the country, but does not include data from California, Maryland and New Hampshire.)
In 2020, some states, including Indiana, Kansas and Minnesota, the method accounts for a majority of abortions, according to state health department reports.
This will be criminalized in as many states as possible in the months ahead. Remember, the point is to drive women into second-class citizenship again, and making them dependent on neckbearded incels for anything approaching rights.
This is a good thing the FDA did here, unalloyed, but it will be regulated or criminalized out of existence, along with a lot of other things we're currently taking for granted as "rights".
You only have rights as far as five Supreme Court justices say you do, and that has been the case all your life.