While state Republican lawmakers consider what additional abortion restrictions they may put in place during a special legislative session beginning later this month, some pro-life advocates are concerned with mailboxes.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, a staunch anti-abortion advocate told FOX59, “We are concerned that abortifacients could be trafficked into the state.”
Trafficked… through the mail.
The concern involves the rise of medication abortion. According to just released statistics from the state health department, 57% of all abortions performed in Indiana last year were “non-surgical”.
The state data mirrors national estimates from the Guttmacher Institute, putting medication abortion in the US at 54%.
Primarily, medical abortion is a two-pill regimen, mifepristone and misoprostol. They are FDA approved for pregnancies of up to 10 weeks. During the pandemic, the federal agency made the drug available by mail. In December, the FDA made availability by mail permanent.
The Associated Press and other news outlets reported earlier this week that after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade, social media Facebook and Instagram outlets shut down ads offering abortion pills for delivery.
With a variety of abortion bans now in place in some twenty states, the US Postal Service has taken the position that it does not have a role in policing parcels for abortion medications.
USPS spokesperson Kimberly Frum told FOX59, “Federal law and Postal Service regulations determine what can and can’t be mailed. The mailer is responsible for ensuring that all Postal Service requirements, as well as all federal and state laws and local ordinances have been met.”
Dr. Christine Francis, CEO-Elect of the American Association of Pro-Life OBGYN’s said she has treated patients who have used the drugs without physician supervision, “As access to these medications is expanded in really a reckless way, I think it’s very reasonable to think that we are going to continue to see more women in our emergency rooms.”
Complications can arise from mifepristone. The FDA’s medication guide warns, “About 2 to 7 out of 100 women taking (Mifepristone) will need a surgical procedure because the pregnancy did not completely pass from the uterus or to stop bleeding.”
But Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an OBGYN and professor at the IU School of Medicine said when legal abortion is limited, women are forced to pursue riskier abortion methods.
“If women are so desperate to send away to receive pills to have a self-managed abortion at home is what Right-To-Life doing really helping them? Obviously not… because then they wouldn’t be doing something as drastic as that,” said Bernard.
There are no clear signals on what abortion restrictions may emerge at the State Capitol this month. It is equally unclear what could be done to prevent women from receiving abortion medication mailed to them regardless of what the law may allow.