AUSTIN (KXAN) – The attorney for European online abortion medication provider Aid Access says the overturning of Roe v. Wade will not stop the organization from providing abortion-inducing medication in the US – even in states with trigger laws effectively banning abortion.
“It is practically impossible for the government to stop these medicines from coming. That is number one,” said Aid Access attorney Richard Hearn.
In Texas, lawmakers already made it a state jail felony to provide abortion medication online or through the mail. But the law does little to discourage providers from outside the US from sending the medication to people living in Texas.
“My client’s actions were not in conformity with the law, Aid Access was not before Roe was overturned and after Roe was overturned. So, it did not really make much difference,” said Hearn.
The law, SB 4, carries up to two years in jail for anyone caught helping someone get an abortion through the mail or online. It stipulates the person using the medication on themselves will not be prosecuted.
KXAN reached out to one of the authors of SB 4, Sen. Paul Bettencourt, about the stipulation protecting any person who takes abortion medication provided online or via the mail, but his office did not provide a statement.
Already the use of online medication abortion providers has increased in Texas. In the months after Texas law banned most abortions in the state, a University of Texas at Austin study found requests to Aid Access surged 174%.
Just the Pill, a nonprofit organization providing abortion access, said it received 236 requests for an appointment since Friday morning when the Supreme Court decision came down. It received only 64 requests within the same time frame the previous week, according to a spokesperson.
“We remain committed to improving abortion access in the face of increasing restrictions. Just The Pill is primed to meet these challenges with game-changing innovation that makes reproductive health care accessible to all people, particularly those historically deprived of access,” Just the Pill Medical Director Dr. Julie Amaon.
In a speech Thursday, President Biden said he will protect people going across state lines seeking abortion pills in other states.
“If any state or local official, high or low, tries to interfere with a woman’s exercising her basic right to travel, I will do everything in my power to fight that deeply un-American attack,” said Biden.
The president also said he would protect a woman’s access to medications already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, such as contraception and mifepristone, which the FDA approved 20 years ago to safely end early pregnancies and is commonly used to treat miscarriages.
“Some states are saying that they will try to ban or severely restrict access to these medications. But extremist governors and state legislators who are looking to block the mail or search a person’s medicine cabinet or control a woman’s actions by tracking data on her apps she uses are wrong and extreme and out of touch with the majority of Americans,” said Biden.