Can You Legally Cross State Lines to Buy Abortion Pills? What to Know


  • The FDA made regulatory changes this month that allow more access to pills that can terminate pregnancy.
  • Both CVS and Walgreens have announced plans to offer the drug.
  • However, pharmacies must be approved before they can legally distribute the drug.

Retail pharmacies can now prescribe mifepristone, the first of two drugs taken for medical abortion.

The Food and Drug Administration unveiled regulatory changes this month, and reproductive health advocates hailed an update that could expand access to abortion.

Both CVS and Walgreens have announced plans to offer the drug, but pharmacies must receive approval before they can legally distribute the drug.

It’s unclear exactly when, but once pharmacies are approved, patients who want medical abortion will be able to pick up abortion pills from their local pharmacies. This still requires a prescription.

JD’s Sara Ainsworth, senior legal and policy director at reproductive justice organization If/When/How, said regulatory changes would significantly improve access.

“If you think about it, patients who get their medicines at their local clinic or take their medicines via telemedicine can now have their prescriptions picked up at their local pharmacy. Go or wait until those mediations arrive in the mail,” said Ainsworth.

People living in abortion-restricting states can access abortion drugs in states that allow medical abortion in two ways.

The first is through a provider in the state where you want to pick up your medication. Once you meet them, you can call your prescription and pick up your medicine at a nearby pharmacy.

At AbortionFinder.org and INeedAnA.Org, you can find medical providers who provide prescriptions for abortion pills, their availability and contact information.

Both of these websites do an excellent job of providing up-to-date information about abortion care providers, Ainsworth said.

Another option is to use telemedicine services.

When using telemedicine services, you digitally consult a healthcare provider who can call a prescription at a pharmacy in a state where abortion is permitted.

The patient then travels to the pharmacy to pick up the medicine.

“For travelers, the hope is that it will speed up the process, reduce the amount of time they spend away from the state, and ease the financial burden of long stays.

There are a number of abortion funds that provide financial assistance to help with travel, lodging, formalities, meals and childcare costs associated with abortion. To learn about and find abortion funds, check out the National Abortion Fund Network.

Well-known foundations include The Brigid Alliance, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, The Chicago Abortion Fund, and The National Abortion Federation.

According to Ainsworth, it is not.

You can safely travel out of state to obtain abortion pills. “They have a constitutional right to do that. They have the right to travel and they are not breaking the law when they travel,” Ainsworth said.

Ainsworth said most abortion-banning states have laws that say people who have abortions cannot be treated as criminals.

“Overall, getting an abortion in another state is a very low-risk, legal activity,” says Ainsworth.

Jesse Hill, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University who specializes in reproductive rights, says abortion pills are safe, but there are rare complications that can require medical attention. said.

Patients don’t break criminal law by taking the drug, but it can have consequences in state hospitals that restrict abortion, Hill says.

Health care providers could, in theory, alert police and child protective services, or withhold care, for fear they might be involved in an illegal abortion, Hill said. There is a nature.

However, patients are not required to disclose that they have taken the drug.

“Patients are not necessarily required to disclose this information because it is generally not possible to determine if a person has had a miscarriage or had a medical abortion,” Hill said.

Additionally, in certain places, like Texas, a person who helps a pregnant person to have an abortion—that is, anyone who drives a pregnant person in and out of the procedure—can be punished under SB 8.

If you have questions or concerns about the legal risks associated with traveling to obtain abortion drugs, you can contact If/When/How attorneys through the organization’s helpline at ReproLegalHelpline.org.

Another option is to use a telemedicine service that can deliver abortion pills.

Plan C details the various ways people in abortion-restricting states can obtain abortion drugs through telemedicine and mail-order services. Tactics recommended by Plan C include using email forwarding services and friends’ addresses.

According to Plan C, there are several online services that ship drugs to locations in states where abortion is permitted, including Choix, Wisp, Full Circle Health Center, Hey Jane and Lilith Care.

Additionally, Aid Access, which is not federally regulated, ships abortion pills to all 50 US states.

Choix CEO Cindy Adam told Healthline:

Ahmad Bani, CEO of sexual and reproductive health telemedicine company Wisp, said Wisp prescribes drugs to patients physically present in states where medical abortion is legal.

Bani recommends that patients keep an eye on nearby clinics in the state they are visiting in case of rare complications so they can safely get treatment if needed. increase.

“It is important to reiterate that current medical abortion laws indicate where you must be physically present to ship a medical abortion, not where your primary address is.” said Bunny.

Retail pharmacies will be able to write prescriptions for mifepristone, the first of two drugs taken for medical abortion. If you live in a state that restricts abortion, there are two ways to access abortion drugs in states that allow medical abortion. Meet with a healthcare provider in a state that allows medical abortions, or use telemedicine services to pick up your medication.



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