Texas Begins Restricting Abortion Pills

Abortion providers blocked from supplying pills to women after 7 weeks of pregnancy
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2021 1:55 PM CST
Texas Begins Restricting Abortion Pills
Abortion rights advocates showing a pack of abortion pills demonstrate in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

(Newser) – Texas is again limiting abortion access with a new law restricting access to abortion pills—"the most common abortion method in Texas," per the Texas Tribune. SB4, which took effect Thursday after passing the state Senate in September, prohibits abortion providers from supplying abortion-inducing medication to a patient after 49 days or seven weeks of pregnancy. According to the FDA, mifiprex and misoprostol can be taken up to 48 hours apart to terminate a pregnancy up to 70 days after a woman's last period, or around 10 weeks of pregnancy, if received directly from a health care provider.

The new law—which also blocks the drugs from being sent through the mail—lists 27 potential complications that can arise from taking the drugs, including viral infections, incomplete abortion, future pregnancy complications, and death. But opponents say significant side effects are rare. The FDA has identified 24 deaths associated with mifiprex since it was approved in 2000, but it could not conclusively say whether adverse health complications or other drugs played a role in the deaths, per the Hill. Abortion-inducing medication was the most common abortion method in Texas in 2020, accounting for 53% of terminated pregnancies, according to state data.

State Rep. Michelle Beckley, a Democrat, says the law creates "additional substantial, medically unnecessary reporting requirements for abortion providers including an impossible requirement that providers report on pregnancy complications that occur during subsequent pregnancies," per the Hill. She adds this is meant to "discourage the provision of abortion and encourage over-reporting of unrelated complications to make abortion look more dangerous than it is." But Texas Right to Life legislative director John Seago says this is just the start of an effort "to appropriately regulate this issue." "We see this as the future of the pro-life fight that is going to be around ... even after states are able to pass very stringent pro-life laws," he tells the Tribune. (Read more abortion stories.)

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