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Post-Roe, could states outlaw abortion pills?

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This week, we learned that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that guaranteed a person’s right to have an abortion in the United States. If this happens, 23 states could institute bans on abortion, NBC News reports, leaving people in those states with few options.

One option that is sure to create friction in the courts in the coming months is abortion pills. Known on the market as mifeprex and misoprostol, the drugs—when taken in combination—are a safe and effective (according to the Kaiser Family foundation, it has a 99.6% success rate) way to terminate a pregnancy at 10 weeks or less.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, this type of abortion accounted for 54% of all terminations at eight weeks or earlier in 2020, with its popularity rising each year. And in December of last year, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) made the pills more accessible by removing the requirement that they be prescribed in-person. This opened up the option for patients to order the medication by mail or get a prescription via a telehealth visit.

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