- Texas’ abortion ban has made it difficult for pregnant women to get the abortion services they need.
- One way people get around the ban is to get abortion medication online.
- Experts say medical abortions are a safe, FDA-approved method of terminating a pregnancy.
- Organizations such as Plan C and Aid Access might be able to help people get safe and inexpensive abortion services, even when restrictive laws exist.
Abortion has long been a controversial issue in America. Since the landmark 1973 United States Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, anti-abortion groups fought to have the verdict overturned, while advocates of Choice fought equally hard to protect it.
Today, several states appear to be making progress in the fight against abortion rights, including the state of Texas, which has adopted a so-called prohibition of abortion “heartbeat”, which prohibits abortion once heart activity has been detected, usually around 6 weeks after the onset of pregnancy.
The ban is controversial because people often don’t even know they are pregnant until well past 6 weeks of pregnancy.
Julie novkov, PhD, JD, professor of political science and studies on women, gender and sexuality at the University of Albany, SUNY, said things were “very uncertain” at this time regarding the new legislation.
“The clinics tried to prevent the law from coming into force by asking the courts to ban it while trials were pending to determine its ultimate constitutionality,” Novkov said.
However, on October 14, an appeal board of the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit authorized the maintenance of the law.
Additionally, the US Department of Justice has asked the US Supreme Court to step in and overturn the 5th Circuit ruling.
âAt the moment, the court is considering two issues,â Novkov said. “Should the law be allowed to continue to operate while challenges unfold in the courts, and whether to consider a substantive challenge to the law itself that abortion providers have launched?” . “
As to where things might go in the future, it’s “hard to say,” Novkov said.
In the meantime, however, there may be another option available to people in Texas looking to terminate their pregnancy: telemedicine medical abortion.
Medical abortion is done using two drugs: mifepristone and misoprostol.
According to Dr Emily Godfrey, MPH, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Family Planning at the University of Washington, says mifepristone works by blocking the hormone progesterone, which prevents early pregnancy to progress.
Misoprostol is a prostaglandin drug that induces uterine contractions to expel pregnancy.
This treatment regimen has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2000.
Godfrey said the procedure is generally considered safe, with less than 1% of people who use it having significant complications.
These types of abortions have been on the increase in recent years, and many people going to clinics for an abortion might choose this type of abortion over a more invasive procedure.
With Texas law in place, people who wish to terminate their pregnancy can turn to telemedicine options to obtain a medical abortion.
Diet C is an advocacy organization that provides people with information on how to get abortion pills.
Godfrey said a medical abortion is appropriate for almost anyone still in their first trimester who has no contraindications to any of the medications, such as an allergy. It is approved by the FDA for use during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
However, anyone taking blood thinners or showing symptoms of a potential ectopic pregnancy should not use them.
People who take steroids regularly or suffer from severe anemia should consult a doctor before having a medical abortion.
Anyone who has an IUD should have it removed before taking the pills.
Aid Access is an online telemedicine service for people who want to perform a self-administered medical abortion.
For a fee of $ 110, a licensed doctor in Amsterdam will write the prescriptions for the drugs, and they will be shipped from a reputable pharmacy in India.
The website provides a help desk and a doctor to answer any questions at any stage of the process.
Godfrey noted that a small number of people could have complications from a medical abortion, such as prolonged bleeding or cramping or a missed abortion.
If they’re bleeding heavily (soaking two towels per hour for more than 2 hours at a stretch), she said they should see a doctor as soon as possible.
They should also see a healthcare practitioner if they feel ill, have abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, or a fever above 100.4 Â° F (38 Â° C) for more than 24 hours after using misoprostol.
If a person has continued to bleed for more than 4 weeks after their abortion, they should see a health care professional.
If the person is not bleeding after 24 hours of taking the misoprostol pills, they might also consider contacting their doctor, she said.
She noted, however, that statistically, medicated abortion pills are about 30 times safer than carrying a pregnancy to childbirth.
Novkov said if it is illegal in Texas to perform a medical abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, it would be difficult to enforce the law.
Because the prescriptions are from a doctor based in Europe and are being shipped from a pharmacy in India, she said the application would raise complicated extradition issues.
Additionally, the law targets abortion providers rather than the person requesting the abortion, she said.
Godfrey agreed, noting that the law specifically exempts the person who has the abortion from being prosecuted.
Additionally, she said it would be completely legal if all residents of Texas got the pills before they got pregnant.
âIt’s important to note,â said Godfrey, âthat the notion of providing abortion pillsâ in advance âof an event is no different than what doctors do when they prescribe an EpiPen to patients. who might have severe allergies to an antibiotic or antibiotics before international travel.
She added that these pills could be obtained through a service like Aid Access.