Texas Law Restricting Abortion Medications Goes Into Effect

Texas Law Restricting Abortion Medications Goes Into Effect abortion inducing pills (ELISA WELLS/PLAN C/AFP via Getty Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Thursday, 02 December 2021 12:13 PM

A new law that makes it a felony in Texas to provide abortion medications after seven weeks of pregnancy went into effect Thursday, according to The Texas Tribune.

The law also makes it a crime to put the medication in the mail.

The outlet, citing figures from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, said medication abortion was the most common abortion method in Texas. It accounted for 53% of all terminated pregnancies in 2020.

To terminate a pregnancy, a woman takes two different medications 24-48 hours apart. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had found that a woman can use these medications up to 70 days after her last menstrual cycle.

According to the Tribune, there is evidence to show more women turn to self-managed abortions when restrictions are placed on legal abortions. Women in Texas have been unable to get abortions performed after six weeks of pregnancy since a new state law went into effect Sept. 1.

Medication abortions differ from emergency contraception, often called the "morning-after pill," the Tribune said. That pill, taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, can prevent pregnancy. It is not abortion-inducing.

Texas Right to Life legislative director John Seago is hopeful the new law on medication abortions signals the start of the state’s effort to crackdown on online and out-of-state providers.

"We see this as the future of the pro-life fight that is going to be around … even after Roe or even after states are able to pass very stringent pro-life laws," Seago said. "I don't think we have all the policy tools on the table to appropriately regulate this issue."

Dyana Limon-Mercado, executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, said: "Medication abortion really allows people the control to find the setting and the timing that works best for them. There are all different reasons. You have people who maybe have unfortunately experienced sexual assault, and for them being able to have more control over the procedure … feels safer to them."

ABC’s "Good Morning America" pointed out the new restrictions on medication abortions was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on Sept. 24. It also adds new requirements for medication abortions, including an in-person examination by a physician, a mandatory follow-up visit within 14 days, and new reporting requirements for the provider.