Medication Abortion Faces Legal Uncertainty Post-Dobbs

With abortion banned or on the verge of a ban in a growing number of states following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, medication abortion has become more important than ever for women and pregnant people seeking abortion care. Abortifacients, the class of prescription drug used to terminate pregnancies, can be used more discreetly than surgical abortions: they don’t require an in-person consultation and, since the start of the pandemic, have been dispensed online without medical risk to patients.

However, experts say that the legal status of medication abortion is far from settled in states where abortion has been banned. Many patients haven’t heard that medication abortion is available, and women and pregnant people who do use abortifacients — or suffer a miscarriage — could face prosecution in states where abortion has been banned. It’s not clear what sort of criminal or civil risk providers, purchasers and carriers will bear if their patients and plan members use abortifacients prescribed across state lines.

© 2022 MMIT
Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has been a reporter for nearly a decade. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered a wide variety of topics in his hometown of Seattle, where he continues to live. Peter’s work has appeared in publications including The Atlantic and The Stranger. Peter attended Colby College.

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