In the ongoing effort to save preborn lives from abortion, the attorneys general (AGs) from 20 states have joined together to inform and warn nationwide pharmacy chains like Walgreens and CVS that obtaining and dispensing the abortion pill using the mail violates federal law, and in many cases state law as well.
The abortion pill, also known as chemical abortion, has increased in popularity so much that it now accounts for over 50% of U.S. abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute. And as abortion facilities close in states where the practice is now mostly prohibited, and abortionists depart, mail-order abortions without the presence of a doctor have become the trendy way to get around the laws of pro-life states.
The letters from the state AGs follow on the heels of actions taken by the federal government recently, in particular from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to make the abortion pill widely available.
In December, the DOJ issued a highly controversial legal opinion to the U.S. Postal Service interpreting the federal law prohibiting the mailing of “every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion…” to be inapplicable to mail orders of mifepristone, the first drug contained in the two-pill regimen that comprises a chemical abortion.
Then, in January, the FDA modified its rules regarding mifepristone, which used to be available only through clinics, medical offices and hospitals under the direct supervision of a licensed physician, to now be available to retail pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS.
Not so fast, according to the 20 state AGs led by Missouri’s Andrew Bailey, who warned the pharmacies that they risk violating federal as well as state law by selling the abortion drug.
“We reject the Biden administration’s bizarre interpretation [of the federal mailing law], and we expect courts will as well. Courts do not lightly ignore the plain text of statutes,” the letter advises.
“Second, like federal law, the laws of many states also prohibit using the mail to send or receive abortion drugs,” the letter adds.
The letter warns the pharmacy chains that state AGs will not hesitate to prosecute the pharmacies for violating either federal or state law.
The AGs also explain that the mail-order abortion pill is dangerous for women, in addition to the babies it kills.
Citing a medical study, the letter advises:
“Abortion pills are far riskier than surgical abortions, according to established scientific consensus: ‘Medication abortions were 5.96 times as likely to result in a complication as first-trimester aspiration abortions.’ Abortion pills carry the added risk that when these heightened complications invariably occur, women suffer those harms at home, away from medical help.
“And finally, mail-order abortion pills also invite the horror of an increase in coerced abortions. When abortion drugs are mailed or consumed outside a regulated medical facility, the risk of coercion is much higher—indeed, guaranteed—because there is no oversight. Outside the regulated medical context, a person can obtain an abortion pill quite easily and then coerce a woman into taking it.”
The AGs are not the only ones taking action against the abortion pill.
As the Daily Citizen has reported, there is a lawsuit under way from four medical associations and four doctors challenging the FDA’s approval of mifepristone for abortion. The lawsuit alleges that the FDA acted without statutory authority to take the steps it did, and seeks to have the drug’s approval revoked.
There are also efforts in Congress to pass a bill that would reverse the FDA’s latest action of removing the “in-person” requirement for dispensing the drug.
However, there are also recent legal efforts on the pro-abortion side as well, including two lawsuits designed to strike down state laws interfering with access to the abortion pill, claiming that the FDA’s approval of mifepristone preempts state laws prohibiting abortion.
Roe v. Wade may have rightly been consigned to the ash heap of history, but that doesn’t mean there will be an easy road ahead for pro-life Americans who hope to one day see abortion become unthinkable in this country. The battlefield has merely shifted to state laws, federal agencies and chemical abortions.
We must remain diligent in our efforts to save preborn lives and protect women.