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Mailbox chemical abortions escape pro-life, safety oversights


NASHVILLE (BP) – Women in states that have outlawed abortion are ordering abortion pills through the mail from out-of-state doctors and oftentimes foreign countries, according to news reports.

After Texas banned most abortions, orders from Texas residents tripled for abortion pills from Aid Access, an online-only abortion pill company in Europe, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open.

Southern Baptist ethicist Brent Leatherwood is among those advocating for an end to mail-order abortions not only from overseas providers, but some stateside providers such as Planned Parenthood.

“While we’ve certainly seen gains for the pro-life cause with Roe’s downfall, one area has yet to be addressed in a comprehensive way. For now, Planned Parenthood is invading the mailbox,” Leatherwood, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told Baptist Press.

“The proliferation of chemical abortions through the mail from drug manufacturers and overseas locations requires immediate attention from lawmakers,” Leatherwood said. “Closing down this avenue to protect innocent lives and stop the exploitation of vulnerable mothers will take a significant level of cooperation between policymakers at the federal and state levels.”

Since June 18, Aid Access, founded in 2018 by Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts, has sent abortion pills to more than 3,500 people in pro-life states that ban abortions, the company said in a July press release.

Among recent reports, Radiance Women’s Center outside Austin, Texas, told World News Magazine two women sought ultrasounds at the center to determine the length of their pregnancies before taking abortion pills from Aid Access, World Radio reported on the Sept. 7 broadcast of “The World and Everything In It.” Other pregnancy care centers in Texas and Mississippi reported similar occurrences, World Radio said.

Aid Access bypasses U.S. pharmaceutical safety precautions because it’s based in a foreign country. The Food and Drug Administration in 2019 sent a warning letter to Aid Access asking it to stop sending pills to the U.S., to no avail, and it’s not clear whether the FDA will continue to pursue the matter.

Gomperts told NBC News in July that she has received 4,000 requests a day for abortion pills since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022, compared to 600 to 700 a day when abortions were legal nationwide.

Ushma Upadhyay, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California in San Francisco, told NBC News that Aid Access is “the only clinically supported service that mails to states where telehealth for abortion is banned.” But other online pharmacies also ship abortion pills to states that ban abortions of any kind.

Most abortions performed in the U.S. today are chemical abortions. The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine is challenging mifepristone – one of the medications used in the two-drug cocktail to induce abortion – in a court battle the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to consider.

More than a dozen states have near-total bans on abortion, and 15 states restrict chemical abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute.