Progressives urge delivery companies to protect access to abortion drugs

ByDonald L. Leech

Jul 21, 2022

Several House progressives on Wednesday urged delivery companies FedEx, UPS and DHL to protect private customer data amid concerns that lawmakers in anti-abortion states will seek to access information about women who buy abortion drugs. ‘abortion.

Letters sent to the three companies on Wednesday called for a closed briefing with executives to better understand how they plan to protect consumers’ private data after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe V. Wade precedent, opening the avenue for States to restrict or criminalize the procedure.

Democrats also urged businesses to provide constitutional protection for their customers from unreasonable search and seizure, reminding them that abortion drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Nineteen states have banned telemedicine appointments in which doctors can prescribe the abortifacient drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, which can be used in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Democratic Representatives Katie Porter (California), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Dean Phillips (Minn.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.) signed the letters sent to senior executives of courier delivery companies .

In a statement, Porter said “extremists have indicated they will use every trick in the book to stop Americans from having abortions, including legal home delivery.”

“My colleagues and I want to know how the carriers intend to respect the freedom of Americans who seek legal, safe, effective, and FDA-approved drugs through the mail,” she said.

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe V. Wade has left Democrats scrambling to protect abortion access. Democrats were unable to codify abortion rights into federal law due to GOP opposition in the Senate and urged voters to elect more pro-choice candidates to change Congress’ calculations .

President Biden signed an executive order earlier this month directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to protect and expand access to abortion drugs through the mail.

Attorney General Merrick Garland also said the Department of Justice (DOJ) will fight to ensure women have access to federally approved abortion drugs.

Last week, HHS said pharmacists cannot deny patients abortion drugs that have been legally prescribed to them.

The abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol can be prescribed online and shipped by mail, which means that shipping services like FedEX, UPS, DHL, and the US Postal Service play an important role in delivering the pills.

However, many GOP leaders have imposed stiff criminal penalties on doctors who perform the procedure, with officials pledging to also ban abortifacient drugs ordered online.

Bush said she wanted to ensure that women can “continue to access essential and lifesaving medicines without fear of investigation and criminalization” amid “abortion bans in ‘extreme right and harmful’.

“Congress has a responsibility to do everything in its power to protect people’s privacy and protect access to abortion care,” she said in a statement.