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Abortion Pills Gain Popularity After Many States Ban Abortion

By: Alice Su

After Roe V. Wade was overturned, Just the Pill, a nonprofit organization that works to help patients from all over the U.S get abortion pills, received four times the number of requests. Many of the orders were from states that banned abortion after the ruling.

This method, called medication abortion, was approved by the F.D.A (Food and Drug Administration) for use in the first ten weeks of pregnancy. The process requires one to take two different medications 24-48 hours apart. The pill causes contractions similar to a miscarriage and heavy bleeding similar to a period.

For states that outlawed abortion, banning medication abortion would likely be much more challenging than just shutting down a clinic since pills can be sent through the mail. It is also possible to travel to another state where medication abortion is allowed.

Since October 2020, Just the Pill has distributed more than 2,500 telemedicine consultations with doctors to provide abortions to patients in Colorado, Minnesota, Montana, and Wyoming. In a few days, they plan to start a program called “Abortion Delivered,” to send out “a fleet of mobile clinics” to stay along state borders, providing doctor consultations, distributing pills, and surgical abortions (for those too far along for medication abortion), Dr. Julie Amaon, the organization’s medical director said, according to The New York Times.

Anti-abortion groups claim medication abortion is harmful. James Studnicki, vice president of data analytics at Charlotte Lozier Institute, said as stated in The New York Times, “The safety of the abortion pill is greatly exaggerated,” and later called the rise in medication abortion, “a serious public health threat.”

It’s uncertain what the Justice Department will do. Katie Watson, a constitutional scholar and medical ethicist said that the ability of the federal government to declare that the F.D.A’s approval overrides state laws “is limited, given, traditionally, states get to regulate the practice of medicine.” Legal experts say that there could be other ways the Justice Department could combat medication abortion restrictions, as mail is under federal surveillance.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a rising research, and policy organization that studied reproductive issues, in 2020, the pill was used for 54% of all abortions. Now, many patients are looking for ways to obtain the medication. Some are turning to websites such as Aid Access, a European group that the F.D.A has attempted to keep from mailing pills to the U.S. According to The New York Times, Mary Ziegler, professor in law at the University of California, Davis, said in an interview in May that in states banning abortion, doctors and other health providers could be prosecuted.

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