Due to the fall of Roe v. Wade and the enactment of pro-life laws affording significant protections to preborn human beings in 13 states, Montana Planned Parenthood will now ask for proof of state residency prior to administering the abortion pill to clients. The abortion facility still plans to continue committing surgical abortions on out-of-state clients.
Abortion is still legal in Montana; however, the four states surrounding it have heavily restricted abortion or are in the process of restricting it. It is therefore possible that the restriction on abortion pill distribution for non-residents is being enacted in order for Planned Parenthood Montana to avoid potential lawsuits that could occur if an out-of-state client were to take the second dose of the abortion pill regimen back in their home state where abortion is restricted.
“As you know, the abortion access landscape is rapidly changing across our region,” said Planned Parenthood Montana president Martha Fuller. “The risks around cross-state provision of services are currently less than clear, with the potential for both civil and criminal action for providing abortions in states with bans.”
READ: Where does your state stand on abortion after Roe?
The abortion pill regimen is actually two drugs (mifepristone and misoprostol) and is FDA-approved for use for up to 70 days of pregnancy. Mifepristone blocks the action of the natural pregnancy hormone progesterone, which helps to nurture the growing baby and sustain the pregnancy. This drug begins the process of killing the embryo, which by 21 days already has a beating heart. The second drug, misoprostol, is typically taken 25 to 72 hours after mifepristone and causes the uterus to contract and expel the baby. If a woman takes mifepristone but has not yet taken misoprostol and regrets her abortion decision, she can contact the Abortion Pill Rescue Network (APRN) for help.
Women who travel to Montana to take the abortion pill would likely take the second drug at home to complete the abortion, which could break state laws banning abortion. Likewise, if women order the abortion pill through telehealth with Planned Parenthood and ingest it in their pro-life state, this could also be breaking state laws — and in both cases, Planned Parenthood could face a lawsuit.
After Planned Parenthood Montana announced that it will require proof of residency for anyone seeking the abortion pill, pro-life activist Mark Lee Dickson of Texas wrote on Facebook, “Out-of-state abortion providers take note: Dispensing abortion pills to a Texas resident will lead to murder charges if either of the pills is ingested in Texas. Anyone who aids or abets a drug-induced abortion in Texas is also committing murder.”
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