Justice Department clears Postal Service to carry abortion drugs into red states

“Recipients in every state have a variety of ways to use these drugs, including abortion, without violating state law,” Schroeder added. “Thus, simply mailing such drugs to a particular jurisdiction is insufficient grounds to conclude that the sender intends to use them illegally.”

Just a week after the Supreme Court overturned Law vs Wade Last June, after nearly half a century of federal guarantees of abortion rights were rescinded, the Postal Service told the Department of Justice to allow state abortions by sending abortion pills to those seeking them in the state. We asked for legal guidance on how to respond to growing efforts to circumvent the ban. .

According to a newly issued opinion, those who ship abortion drugs to states with strict abortion laws “usually” need to violate a federal law known as the Comstock Act, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. I don’t have enough knowledge. Up to 10 years imprisonment for the first offense and for subsequent offenses.

This opinion notes that state laws restricting abortion generally include, or have been construed to include, exceptions where the mother’s life is threatened. What’s more, it would typically be difficult for the person sending the medication to know at what stage of pregnancy the drug was being taken or where it would be when it was taken, writes Schroeder.

The Justice Department’s ruling is likely to be welcomed by abortion rights advocates, but it also provides legal immunity for those involved in sending or receiving abortion drugs in states that restrict abortion drugs. This opinion does not preclude state or local prosecutors from using state law to criminally prosecute people for such activities.

Further, Schroeder said he did not say whether such conduct could violate federal law other than the Comstock Act. It said it would also apply to shipments of abortion pills by other carriers such as United Parcel Service and FedEx.

The Justice Department memo is one of two actions the Biden administration took on Tuesday to protect and expand access to abortion drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration has also updated drug regulations to allow brick-and-mortar pharmacies to dispense drugs to patients with a prescription for the first time. However, pharmacies in the 12 or more states that have almost completely banned abortion cannot participate.

The two-tablet prescription for inducing abortion has been the subject of legal, political and regulatory battles since the drug was first approved decades ago.These fights only escalated after the Supreme Court overturned Law vs Wade In June 2022, pill mailing became one of the primary ways patients in Republican-controlled states got around the newly imposed ban.

Since then, progressive advocacy groups have called on the Biden administration to take a variety of actions to protect and expand access to the proceedings. eggBut the group applauded the new DOJ memo and FDA rule, calling it a “step in the right direction” and stressing that more is needed.

“In one post—egg Around the world, patients need all the options available in person, by mail, or at their local pharmacy to get the care they need,” said Kirsten Moore, director of the Expanded Abortion Access Project. “Millions of people still live in states where abortion treatment is outright banned. The type of care you receive should not depend on where you live.” But that is the reality that anti-abortion politicians have created.”

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