A bill introduced in Texas, a state that already bans abortion, includes many provisions that seek to close off any access to pills, including making it difficult for Texas patients to learn about or use abortion services outside of the state. The bill would make it illegal to manufacture, distribute or “provide an abortion-inducing drug in any manner to or from any person or location in this state.”
It would also make it illegal to “create, edit, upload, publish, host, maintain, or register a domain name for an internet website, platform, or other interactive computer service that assists or facilitates a person’s effort in obtaining an abortion-inducing drug.”
Many patients learn about abortion options from websites like Plan C, a clearinghouse of information about medication abortion. And a growing number of patients in states with abortion bans are arranging to receive pills through telemedicine websites like Aid Access, a European-based service that has pills shipped to any state from India, and Hey Jane, one of several American-based services that will provide pills to patients who travel to a state where abortion is legal and where they can receive the medication by mail in those states.
In addition to Wyoming’s law banning abortion pills, 15 states restrict access to medication abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group supporting abortion rights. Those restrictions range from requiring that the drugs be provided by a physician to requiring the patient have an in-person visit with a doctor. Several states, including Texas and Arizona, have outlawed the mailing of abortion pills, and bills to ban mailing pills have been introduced in at least three other states this year.
“We are seeing efforts to further bar access to medication abortion because abortion opponents recognize that even with abortion bans in effect in 12 states and lack of access in an additional two, patients are still able to obtain abortion pills,” said Elizabeth Nash, state policy analyst for the Guttmacher Institute. “Now, abortion opponents have turned to the courts, attorneys general and state legislatures to further limit access to pills.”