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It didn’t take long for many states to take action after the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade judgment. Thirteen states already had trigger laws banning abortion in place. They include Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming. A further 13 will either ban or restrict in-person and virtual abortions. Women in these states may seek a remote abortion to access telehealth abortion pills.
Telehealth Abortion Pills Have Grown in Popularity
Over 90% of abortions occur during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and more than half are performed using pills rather than surgery, according to research published by the Guttmacher Institute. a research group that supports abortion rights. With the acceptance of telehealth abortion pills, restrictive abortion rules in many states will likely increase the use of remote abortion. See Telehealth.org’s previous article How the Supreme Court Upending of Roe vs. Wade Could Effect Telehealth Privacy Rights for more detail.
The US has allowed medical abortion since 2000, when the FDA approved mifepristone as an abortion medication for early-stage pregnancy. Abortion laws differ from state to state. Thirty-two states require physicians to administer abortion drugs, and 19 of them insist that the physician must be present when abortion drugs are administered. Here is the detailed report of all the states and their actions toward telehealth abortion pills.
Virtual Abortions Across State Lines
Theoretically, healthcare providers can prescribe a telehealth abortion pill from a state where such action is not against the law. The postal service can then deliver the required medicines. In some states, legislators are taking action to prevent the prescription and administration of telehealth abortion pills across state borders. For example, this type of law took effect in Louisiana on June 28, 2022. Senate Bill 342 bans the use of telehealth abortion pills. A physician caught sending abortion medication to the state faces a 10-year jail term and a fine of $75,000. In Tennessee, a similar breach of the law could result in a fine of up to $50,000, and senators are calling for similar restrictions in South Dakota.
Texas is one of the states that had a trigger ban that altogether banned abortion and created harsh penalties for people found guilty of performing or aiding in an abortion. The Supreme Court subsequently put a temporary hold on Bill 8. Arguments about the permissibility of the Act will go before the court on July 12, 2022. The laws banning abortion in Texas are almost a hundred years old.
The Democratic States Move to Protect Their Residents
States like Florida don’t punish pregnant people for seeking an abortion. Instead, they target anyone who assists with that abortion. Doctors who offer remote abortions in Florida could lose their license to practice in the state and face heavy fines. Any healthcare worker sending telehealth abortion pills into Florida without a license may face criminal charges.
Many democratic states will take action to protect physicians who assist women with abortions. The governor of California, Gavin Newsome, has moved to protect healthcare providers from prosecution. He has vowed to protect the rights of women who seek virtual abortions in California and defend the residents who help them. Legislators in Connecticut have also passed a bill to protect state residents from abortion penalties in other states. Many states that have passed abortion bans into law will face court action in the coming days and months.
Telehealth: How to Legally and Ethically Practice Over State Lines & International Borders
Practicing telehealth across state lines or international borders? Operate legally & ethically 100% of the time.