Analysis

Pro-life lawmakers should focus on halting the growth of virtual abortion pill dispensaries

abortion pill

Pro-life lawmakers need to work quickly to stop the rapidly expanding business of virtual abortion pill dispensaries. Today, abortion pill expansion efforts including TelAbortionmail orderpharmacy, virtual abortion pill dispensariesadvanced provision of abortion pills, and over-the-counter (OTC) distribution are taking place so quickly that many lawmakers may feel unable to keep up with the changes. But one thing we know for certain is that pro-life legislation saves lives, reduces abortion numbers, and closes abortion facilities. 

While the terrain may be quickly changing from brick-and-mortar facilities to an online model, there are important measures that can be implemented if the right questions are asked and answered.

Pro-life legislation has decreased abortion facilities and saved lives

The White House recently claimed that so far in 2022, “over 265 bills restricting access to abortion have been filed during the 2022 legislative session.” Planned Parenthood’s former “special affiliate” and research arm, the Guttmacher Institute, updated its numbers in March to claim that “519 restrictions in 41 states” have been introduced so far in 2022.

Last year, pro-life legislation caused the abortion industry to describe 2021 as the “Worst Year for Abortion Rights in Almost Half a Century.” The increased legislation is due in part to pro-life lawmakers looking at the abortion industry as a business and responding in kind.

The closure of hundreds of abortion facilities has been attributed both to pro-life laws and peaceful outreach to women outside abortion facilities for the past 50 years. According to a recent pro-abortion report, between 1978 and 2020, abortion facilities declined nearly 72% (from 2,749 in 1978 to 780 in 2020). But according to data from the Guttmacher Institute, the share of all abortions that were chemical abortions increased from 5 percent in 2001 to 39 percent in 2017.

Today, preliminary data from Guttmacher suggests that by 2020, abortion pills made up over half of all abortions (54%). Tragically, data from states (ex: CA CO) as well as the CDC indicates the number and rate of abortions may be ticking upward due to availability of chemical abortion pills.

READ: Poll: Most Americans want significant abortion restrictions, oppose abortion pills by mail

Impage: Abortions are ticking upward (Graph: Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI)

Abortions are ticking upward (Graph: Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI)

As today’s abortion expansion moves online, pro-life lawmakers need to activate to slow down the death count by asking important questions about the business model at play and then drafting appropriate legislation:

Who regulates US mail? 

The U.S. Postmaster General and the U.S. Postal Inspector Service enforce hundreds of postal laws and investigate any crime that involves U.S. mail. Despite this, the abortion industry flouting FDA regulations and openly publishing workarounds involving the use of the U.S. Postal Service to flout state laws. 

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) recently introduced an amendment to the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 which would have prohibited the shipping of abortion drugs through the U.S. mail. Unfortunately, the amendment was blocked.

Image: Mike Lee Postal Reform amendment to prohibit abortion drugs

Mike Lee Postal Reform amendment to prohibit abortion drugs

Who regulates pharmacies and can verify they are registered in states they are shipping to?

The FDA has a list of safeguards at its BeSafeRX website that may interest pro-life lawmakers and groups. Get to know how pharmacies are regulated and who is on the board in your state. 

For example, the Kentucky House recently approved a measure that, according to the Associated Press, would “direct the state pharmacy board to oversee the distribution of abortion pills… [and] oversee a certification process for pharmacies, physicians, manufacturers and distributors who administer or provide the drugs.”

“The bill would require the pharmacy board to create a complaint portal on its website. It would list the names of doctors certified to prescribe medication to induce abortions and pharmacies, manufacturers and distributors certified to supply it,” the AP also reported.

While there appears to be a limited number of pharmacies like Honeybee Health and America Online Mail Order Pharmacy (AMOP) shipping the dangerous drugs for abortion providers, that list could soon grow. According to Buzzfeed News, in September 2021, Honeybee Health “saw a roughly 300% increase in abortion pill prescriptions from the prior quarter.” 

Regulations of this online business is a must, as is educating pro-lifers who may be unaware that an online pharmacy they might be using is partnering with the abortion industry. 

What regulations surround online purchases?

Pro-life lawmakers can also research regulations around online purchases and identify which consumer safety and regulatory protections exist for anyone buying abortion drugs online. In addition, they could tighten laws that compensate abortion clients misled in the online sales of abortion drugs.

Pro-life lawmakers could also identify measures regulating a minor’s access to online purchases, or their use of credit cards online. For example, the online abortion dispensary Abortion On Demand (AOD) acknowledges on its website that “[s]ome states have strict rules about minors getting abortions. There are also federal rules about how old you must be to consent for our payment platform.” Therefore, AOD only accepts “clients who are 18 years.” 

Lastly, pro-life lawmakers could require anyone selling the abortion pill to inform abortion clients about how to report all complications to the FDA as well as state reporting agencies. 

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