Texas is going full throttle with the enforcement of its restrictive abortion laws.
On Dec. 1, a new law went into effect, which would see medical professionals and others fined up to $10,000 for prescribes pills for medication abortions via telehealth or through the mail.
Under the state’s Heartbeat Bill, abortions are outlawed whenever an ultrasound can detect a fetal “heartbeat.”
“Today is a celebration. It’s a celebration of Texas values,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at the time.
Medical experts insist that embryos don’t possess a heart at that developmental stage. The bill is also unfair as many women do not realize that they are pregnant before the six weeks stage. The new bill would prohibit at least 85% of abortions in the state.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines allow the pills to be taken up until 10 weeks gestation.
Medication abortions via telehealth or mail are already illegal in Texas. The new law comes as the Supreme Court hears arguments in a Mississippi case that ultimately could overturn Roe v. Wade. This landmark 1973 ruling established a constitutional right to abortion.
Medication abortion is a two-part process where mifepristone and misoprostol pills are usually taken 48 hours apart.
In May, the FDA announced a long-awaited review of its restrictions on mifepristone, a medication used for early abortion and miscarriage care. It has long been expressed that the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) causes serious injury to patients as it obstructs access to crucial time-sensitive health care — particularly people of color and people with low incomes.
“The FDA’s decision to review these senseless restrictions on mifepristone — though long overdue — is a critical move towards ensuring that patients can access this safe, effective medication without needless obstacles,” said Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “The evidence is crystal clear that these restrictions provide zero safety benefit while severely burdening patients’ ability to access care. It is long past time for the FDA to heed the calls of leading national medical organizations and remove these unjustified barriers.”