Alabama women face prosecution for taking abortion pills

Alabama women face prosecution for taking abortion pills
Alabama women face prosecution for taking abortion pills
Khushbu Kumari

Alabama's attorney general said abortion seekers could be charged if they use abortion pills even if they buy them in other states

People in Alabama who use abortion pills to end pregnancies can be criminally prosecuted by the state, even if those pills were prescribed remotely from another part of the country, state Attorney General Steve Marshall said.

The statement comes shortly after the federal government made it easier to prescribe the pills mifepristone and misoprostol, used for medical abortions, amid a broader battle over abortion rights.

Alabama is among 18 states that have issued new abortion restrictions since the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

While Alabama's state abortion ban, which targets providers, says people who abort cannot be held criminally responsible, Marshall suggested the state could prosecute them under a 2006 law.

“The Human Life Protection Act targets abortion providers, exempting women 'for whom an abortion is performed or attempted' from legal liability,” Marshall said in a statement. “It does not provide a general exemption from all criminal laws, including the hazardous chemical law."

Marshall is referring to the state's chemical hazard law that criminalizes anyone who “knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally causes or allows a child to be exposed to, ingests, or inhales, or comes into contact with, a controlled substance, chemical, or drug paraphernalia.”.

In 2013, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the law, which was first introduced to protect children from exposure to illicit drugs, protected unborn children.

But when the federal government formally eased restrictions on abortion pills, allowing people to fill a prescription through a telehealth consultation with a health professional, then pick up the drugs at a brick-and-mortar store or have them mailed to where allowed by law. The law, reversing years of FDA requirements that pills be dispensed in specialty offices and clinics, prompted reactions to prevent it.

Marshall, who previously called Alabama the state “protector of unborn life,” said in Wednesday's statement that “promoting the prescription and remote administration of abortion pills endangers both women and unborn children.”

Mifepristone and misoprostol are used in about half of all abortions in the US, but they can also treat conditions such as ulcers.

The Justice Department, citing other uses for the pills, said in a 21-page opinion that the pills can be mailed anywhere in the country.

You may also like:

About | Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy