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Medication Abortion: The new Hope in America’s Abortion War?

By Steve Smith

A post in The Economist suggests that if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade this year, as many expect it will when it rules on a case involving Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the benefits of abortion-by-mail will become even more obvious. The piece also conveys the grim reminder that if Roe was “ditched,” nearly half of America’s states would ban most abortions.

With Roe threatened more now than ever, does medication abortion have the potential to silence the guns of America’s abortion war?

Due to restrictions imposed by the FDA in 2000,when the drugs were approved for this purpose, only 40 percent of abortions in America are chemically induced. That leaves a majority of them to be performed surgically, giving the vocal and well-organized so-called right-to-life movement its graphic ammunition.

In December the most onerous restriction, which requires women to collect the first of the two drugs used to end pregnancies from a clinic or medical office in person, was lifted. Now women can be prescribed mifepristone, which blocks the pregnancy-enabling hormone progesterone, after an online consultation, and receive it in the mail. The second drug, misoprostol, which causes the uterus to contract and expel the fetus, taken several hours later, has several uses and is available with a prescription.

The benefits of medication abortion include safety and elimination of the need for travel. The advantage to the latter is more then mere convenience because, due to state-imposed restrictions intended to make it harder to obtain an abortion, clinics are fewer and farther in-between. In fact, in six states, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia, have only one abortion clinic according to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for reproductive rights. As for cost, a drug-induced abortion in a clinic costs between $500 and $800. Buying the pills from a telemedicine provider costs around $200.

Read the full story: The Economist

More health content from The CCM Team:

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Adolescents Using Cannabis Are at Risk for Cannabis Hyperemesis

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