The Texas Abortion Ban continues to spawn legal issues and mandates as the Supreme Court rules in favor of allowing the state to ban abortions. Now, lawmakers have made the distribution of misoprostol, a common abortive medication, a felony. Here's what you should know.
There are two ways to perform an abortion: an in-clinic procedure and abortion pills. Misoprostol is one of two abortive prescriptions that can end a pregnancy; the other is mifepristone.
During a "chemical abortion," the patient takes mifepristone first. This pill blocks progesterone production, a hormone that allows pregnancy to advance and the fetus to grow. Once the initial dose of mifepristone is taken, the body stops producing progesterone, and the pregnancy stops advancing.
The patient will then take misoprostol within 48 hours. This will cause cramping, which works to expel the pregnancy to mimic a miscarriage. Most of the time, this causes painful cramping and heavy bleeding that should not last longer than 24 hours.
While both mifepristone and misoprostol can be ingested without a doctor's oversight, it's recommended that people seeking an abortion consult a healthcare professional to ensure that the abortion happens without complications.
The abortion pill method only works within the first 70 days after the last missed period, leaving a narrow window of time for people seeking an abortion. The most controversial part of this process is misoprostol – the pill that causes the physical termination of a pregnancy.
The FDA and Accessibility
In light of the uncertainty surrounding Roe v. Wade and whether the Supreme Court will overturn it, the Food and Drug Administration has expanded access to abortive medications to allow patients to receive the pills by mail.
As more states buckle down on abortion restrictions, the number of patients seeking abortion pills has grown exponentially. Telehealth and international aid organizations have made access to abortion pills possible for many people who may not have healthcare or the means to seek out a prescription through a doctor.
Until the last few weeks, the FDA was against the use of mifepristone and misoprostol at home. The previous rule stated that both medications had to be administered to the patient in person. This rule was temporarily suspended during the pandemic as millions of patients were under lockdowns that prevented them from visiting their doctors in person.
Now, the FDA has eased those restrictions, permanently allowing patients to receive abortion pills through the mail. For Texas lawmakers, these allowances are intolerable and must be stopped.
Felonious Abortion Pills
Texas lawmakers have made it clear during 2021 that they intend to discourage abortions for the foreseeable future. The target for anti-abortion politicians is limiting access to "dangerous" abortion methods.
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services published studies showing that some patients who take mifepristone and misoprostol experience side effects. A small number of patients experience significant side effects and complications. Lawmakers have cited these studies in their motion to make possession of abortion pills a felony offense.
The new law specifies that anyone who supplies abortive medications through courier, delivery, or mail service could be charged with a felony. This means that international providers and telehealth doctors with patients in Texas could face criminal charges if they prescribe and send mifepristone and misoprostol to their patients.
Anyone who sends mifepristone and misoprostol in the mail to someone in Texas can now be charged with a felony. This law and the highly controversial abortion ban make clinical and chemical abortions almost inaccessible to people in Texas.
Shane Phelps Law. will continue to follow the development of criminal laws about abortion in Texas.