Women Find a Loophole in State Abortion Bans

Chay_Tee / shutterstock.com
Chay_Tee / shutterstock.com

Thanks to the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court, you’d think the number of abortions taking place throughout the US would have dropped significantly, especially since a number of states have since implemented heavily restrictive abortion laws or bans.

However, as data from the Society for Family Planning’s WeCount project proves, that’s not necessarily been the case. In fact, the number of nationwide abortions has actually gone up, according to The Hill.

How is this possible?

Well, data shows that there’s been a recent growth in telemedicine, which now accounts for about 19 percent of all abortions in the US. The data begins at the time of the Supreme Court’s ruling and runs through December of 2023.

In states with near total abortion bans or bans after six weeks, nearly 8,000 women per month have now been able to obtain abortion pills via telemedicine from October to December thanks to clinics operating under shield laws.

As WeCount representative Ushma Upadhyay says, “Access to medication abortion through telehealth continues to play an ever-increasing role in abortion care nationwide – even as the Supreme Court weighs the fate of telehealth abortion care.”

As the data continues, about one in five abortions now happen as a result of shield laws providing women with wide access to abortion pills.

Much of this can be blamed on Joe Biden, whose administration changed the access rules to these types of medications during the pandemic. Drugs that had been approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago, such as mifepristone and misoprostol, became more easily accessed and are approved up through the tenth week of pregnancy.

Prior to the pandemic, women had to visit a clinic in person to get such medications. However, during the pandemic, the FDA loosened those rules, allowing women to use mail-order pharmacies or remote screenings.

As The Hill reported, by 2023, “providers in states with shield laws were prescribing abortion pills to an average of 5,800 people a month in states with total abortion bans or six-week abortion bans.”

And this has led to somewhat of a surge in abortions. In 2022, roughly 82,000 abortions took place per month in the US. Just one year later, that number had risen to 86,000.

However, there is some good news to be had here.

As WeCount briefly mentioned, the Supreme Court is not done with the issue of abortion. Currently, it is working to decide on a case that could pretty much end the use of at least one of those commonly used abortion pills, mifepristone, or at least put some pretty heavy restrictions on it. Arguments were heard in March.

So we can hope and pray that a pro-life decision is soon made.