(StraightNews.org) — US retail pharmacies can dispense the abortion pill Mifepristone for the first time under new rules from the Biden administration. Under previous rules, only specialized and authorized clinics could dispense the drug – often meaning it took weeks to obtain – but now any pharmacy can distribute the pills making the process faster and easier.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which issued the new regulation, says that this will not apply in states that have banned abortion. But according to Amanda Allen of the Lawyering Project, the new rules will also make it easier for those crossing state lines.
It is unclear how the regulations will work in practice, just as it is unclear how obtaining the drug by post or traveling to another state will be legally governed. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision in 2022 to overturn Roe v Wade, which provided federal rights to abortion, some states have taken steps to prevent both out-of-state and mail-order terminations.
In June last year, Missouri lawmakers proposed legislation that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident obtain an abortion, including in another state. Republican state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, who proposed the policy, said it was intended to target a Planned Parenthood clinic in Illinois that was founded specifically to provide abortions to Missouri residents. “If you believe as I do that every person deserves dignity and respect whether they’re born or unborn, then of course you want to protect your citizens, no matter where they are,” she said.
The legal situation regarding ordering abortion drugs from overseas also remains vague. A European organization Aid Access provides online consultations and writes prescriptions for drugs including Mifepristone for American patients. These are then shipped from a clinic in India. Aid Access has said it will continue to post the drug to all US states regardless of their laws on abortion.
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