Georgia Bill Would Ban Abortion Pills Being Provided at Any School Campus, Through Mail

A new bill proposed Tuesday by Republican lawmakers in Georgia would make women's access to abortion pills more challenging by banning the shipment of the medication to homes and prohibiting colleges from distributing the pills.

Republican state Senator Bruce Thompson introduced new legislation challenging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow abortion medication to be shipped by mail instead of requiring patients to pick it up in person, the Associated Press reported.

Senate Bill 351, also called the "Women's Health and Safety Act," would require pregnant women to see a doctor in person before receiving the abortion pill, mifepristone. Thompson said he believes it's too risky for someone to receive an abortion pill without seeing a physician first and a medical provider should be involved when making the decision to terminate a pregnancy.

"In our state, when you take a physician or a medical provider out of this step of administered medication like this [where] there are severe or adverse reactions that can happen, and that puts women's health at risk," Thompson said in a phone call with Newsweek.

He added they want to make sure the mother is safe and isn't past 10 weeks in her pregnancy or have anything unusual like an ectopic pregnancy before receiving the medication because it could put her health at risk.

"We want to make sure we're not mail ordering abortion pills without ensuring [the mother] is a good candidate," he said.

In April 2021, President Joe Biden's administration started allowing the drug to be mailed after more women were seeing physicians online or via telephone because of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Thompson said he wants to protect pregnant women in the state, "and when the Biden administration authorized the mail order of the abortion pills without having a physician involved in that process, we feel that that is putting women in grave danger," the Journal-Constitution added.

In December 2021, the FDA permanently removed the requirement for women to pick up the medication in person. However, the Journal-Constitution said the FDA still requires a doctor to prescribe the abortion pill before it can be mailed to a patient.

Georgia's proposed bill would require a patient to sign off on 15 statements in order to receive the medication. The doctors would also be required to tell the patient the medically induced abortion could be reversed by taking the hormone progesterone, the AP reported, adding that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says there is no proof supporting the claim that medicated abortions can be reversed.

Medicated abortions have been available in the U.S. since 2000, after the FDA allowed mifepristone to be used to terminate pregnancies up to 10 weeks, the AP reported.

According to the ACOG website, mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone, which stops pregnancy growth. The uterus then contracts from misoprostol to complete the abortion.

Roughly 40 percent of abortions in the country are done with medication. The option of using abortion pills over surgery has become more common during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the AP.

Update (Feb 3, 5:02 PM): This story has been updated to include comments from Senator Bruce Thompson.

Georgia Abortion Pill Legislation Restricts Access
Georgia lawmakers introduced a bill to fight the FDA's recent decision on permanently allowing abortion pills to be shipped by mail. Above, an image of a smart phone accessing a website on mifepristone, the abortion pill. Olivier Douliery/ AFP/Getty Images