Abortion Pill Controversy Rages On In Texas, US
Medication abortion continues to play a major role as the decades-long battle over reproductive rights rages on in the U.S.
During the special legislative session that began July 8, Texas lawmakers will reconsider a bill that would ban the provision of abortion medication by mail or delivery service, and ban pill-induced abortions after 7 weeks into the pregnancy.
Texas had the most severe restrictions on abortion during the pandemic and saw a 94% increase in requests for the telemedicine abortion service Aid Access — the largest escalation of any U.S. state — from March 20-April 11, 2020, compared to the beginning of the year.
According to a prominent abortion-rights research group, 19 states now require the clinician to provide abortion pills in person, effectively making it illegal to use telemedicine to see the patient and prescribe the pills.
The Food and Drug Administration suspended restrictions on abortion pills during the pandemic, allowing patients to receive the medication via telemedicine or through the mail, and is now considering whether to permanently reduce pre-pandemic federal controls or abolish them altogether.
The Supreme Court announced it will hear a case that poses a direct challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade, which recognized a constitutional right to an abortion. A decision is expected in mid-2022.
What is the future of medication abortion in the U.S. and Texas? What are the potential implications of coming decisions from the FDA, SCOTUS and the Texas Legislature?
Is telemedicine a safe, effective way to secure the pills necessary to terminate a pregnancy? If so, why does this issue continued to be mired in controversy?
- Alice Ollstein, health care reporter for POLITICO Pro, covering the Capitol Hill beat
- Abigail Aiken, MD, Ph.D., MPH, associate professor of public affairs, fellow of the Richter Chair in Global Health Policy and principal investigator for Project SANA at the University of Texas at Austin
- Nancy Cárdenas Peña, director Texas State Policy and Advocacy for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice
- Rosann Mariappuram, executive director of Jane's Due Process
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*This interview was recorded on Monday, July 12.