ST. LOUIS POST-SHIPPING
THE next battleground over abortion rights will not be in front of abortion clinics but in the homes of women seeking to end unwanted pregnancies.
Legislative efforts across the country are aimed at cracking down on home-administered medical abortions, a problem that generally did not exist in the days before Roe v. Wade in 1973. Anti-choice forces are floating around ideas, including crackdowns on drug shipping and even attempts to ban information from choice advocates — which is a far cry from the abortion debate in the fields. interstate commerce and the first amendment.
Roe’s overthrow this year does nothing to stop the federal government from strengthening these and other rights against those who would erode them in their zeal to control women everywhere. Even at home.
In the nearly 50 years that have passed since US states were last allowed to ban abortion at will, a lot has changed when it comes to abortion services. Contrary to right-wing misinformation campaigns, most abortions are performed early in pregnancy, and the most common (and safest) method of abortion in early pregnancy today is medical inducement. The Food and Drug Administration in 2000 approved the drug mifepristone to terminate pregnancies within the first 10 weeks, usually in conjunction with a second drug, misoprostol. Both drugs are used in more than half of all abortions.
People also read…
But now, Republican-controlled states are beginning to ban abortion long before that point. In Missouri, it’s illegal from conception, even in cases of rape or incest. Since other states maintain the legality of abortion, complex issues arise regarding these drugs.
While states can assert the right to ban drugs within their borders, how will they enforce that ban once women arrive home with prescriptions? For now, anyway, the forced birth movement generally sticks to its public relations-driven approach of punishing everyone but pregnant women for obtaining abortions.
The Washington Post reports that one approach some activists have suggested is to crack down on the licensing of prescribing physicians in other states. This would seem to violate the concept that states set their own laws and standards – the very concept that the anti-choice movement has long touted in its quest to get the constitutional guarantee of abortion rights lifted.
In theory, states can prohibit their citizens from bringing contraband items into their state or receiving them in the mail, even if those items are legal in the originating state. But, again, how should this be applied? Will the state police start searching cars and monitoring pregnant women’s mail?
If that sounds like dystopian paranoia, consider an idea that anti-choice lawmakers in some states are already pursuing: banning nonprofits that provide information to women about voluntary abortion. Once state governments take away women’s right to control their own bodies, no one should be surprised if they are willing to scuttle an array of other rights in the service of that goal.