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Tags: abortion pills | abortion | aid access | telemedicine | doctors | mail | anti-abortion laws

Shield Laws Let Doctors Mail Thousands of Abortion Pills

By    |   Thursday, 20 July 2023 09:05 AM EDT

A new method adopted by Europe-based Aid Access, one of the largest suppliers of abortion pills, is allowing medical professionals in states that have passed telemedicine shield laws to prescribe and mail out the pills to patients in states with anti-abortion laws, and as a result, tens of thousands of abortions could be facilitated over the next year alone.

Aid Access had until now allowed only doctors in Europe to prescribe the pills and ship them internationally to women in states with restrictive abortion laws, meaning women waited for weeks to get the drugs, but now, they can get them in days, reports The Washington Post.

With telemedicine shield laws in the Democrat-controlled states of New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Vermont, and Colorado, that protect abortion providers who mail pills to restricted states, the result has created a pipeline for legally prescribed abortion pills.

Seven U.S.-based providers affiliated with Aid Access have in the past month mailed out 3,500 doses of the abortion pills, and could be on track to facilitate at least 42,000 abortions in the nation's restricted states, and the numbers could climb higher if more doctors and nurses sign up as prescribers.

A Hudson Valley doctor, who is one of the company's providers, said that everything she is doing is legal.

"Texas might say I'm breaking their laws, but I don't live in Texas," she told The Post, declining to allow her name to be used out of fears for her safety.

Some conservative groups are pushing for a nationwide abortion pill ban along with a ban on medical abortions, but the flow of abortion pills from overseas is playing a prominent role in facilitating abortions after the Supreme Court's ruling overturning the Roe v. Wade decision.

Some lawyers say the pill providers could face repercussions, even if they stay out of the states where bans are calling for the prosecution of those who provide abortions.

The issue could also lead to states with shield laws fighting in the courts to block other states from charging medical providers who send the pills with crimes.

Aid Access providers say that major groups supporting abortion rights, including Planned Parenthood and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), have expressed concerns about the pill distribution, saying providers could be facing risks legally.

ACOG general counsel and chief legal officer Molly Meegan commented that the group is not able to give legal advice to individual members of the organization, and Planned Parenthood said its advocacy arm is "doing everything possible" to ensure "patients can access care no matter where they live."

But Jonathan Mitchell, the former solicitor general of Texas and architect of the state's six-week abortion ban, told The Post that it's too early to predict how the other states' shield laws will play out but warned that the providers could face legal problems.

"Someone in Texas could do a sting operation and charge them with attempted murder," he said.

In many anti-abortion states, Texas included, a person found guilty of distributing abortion pills could face several years in prison.

New York passed the most recent telemedicine shield law in mid-June, with Massachusetts passing its shield law after Roe was overturned in June 2022.

Aid Access had been sending abortion pills out to the United States for some time, for $150 or less, which is far less than the price tag for a surgical or medical abortion at a clinic.

And demand for the company's pill has climbed dramatically since the ruling, with requests climbing by almost 60%, according to Abigail Aiken, lead investigator of the self-managed Abortion Needs Assessment Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

A new method adopted by Europe-based Aid Access is allowing medical professionals in states that have passed telemedicine shield laws to prescribe and mail out the pills to patients in states with anti-abortion laws.
abortion pills, abortion, aid access, telemedicine, doctors, mail, anti-abortion laws
Thursday, 20 July 2023 09:05 AM
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