The Federal Abortion Pill Ban is a Threat to Women’s Health and Autonomy

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Sofia Levorchick, Staff Writer

The overturning of Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022 has caused consistent backlash and controversy. This case granted states the right to regulate and ban abortion, raising questions regarding the extent of abortion bans, and which abortion methods should be allowed. One can assume that the case revolves around surgical abortions, but it takes contraceptives and abortion pills into regard as well. Some Republican politicians want to push abortion bans to their maximum limits, not only banning surgical procedures,  but the transportation and selling of abortion pills as well.

Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas sided with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative Christian legal advocacy group, in his ruling on April 7. The ADF had urged the court to overturn the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of mifepristone, an abortion drug.

The primary rationale for banning abortion pills is to protect the health and safety of women, arguing that abortion pills can have dangerous side effects and that access to medical supervision is necessary to ensure that women do not experience complications. They also contend that the use of abortion pills without medical guidance could be potentially harmful, especially if the pills are obtained through illegal or unregulated channels.

However, the FDA approved the use of mifepristone in 2000 as a safe and effective method of abortion. Additionally, these pills have been used successfully for over 20 years without significant negative health implications; some have used the pills without medical supervision or approval because of the lack of access to safe and affordable abortion care, due to the recent decision of Roe v. Wade. By banning abortion pills, these women are at an even higher risk when denied access to a safer option for terminating a pregnancy.

The government exerts much influence over our lives; however, in the instance of abortion, the government—which predominantly consists of men—should not exert control over this matter as it should be each and every woman’s choice to decide what to do with her body. In some states, such as Alabama—a densely Republican state—abortion is prohibited in all circumstances except for life endangerment and medical emergencies; in the case of rape, a woman would not have safe access to abortion in that state.

Abortion pills are an alternate, more private, and more accessible method of preventing unwanted childbirth, and without pills like these, women with unwanted pregnancies do not have access to any method of abortion. In 2021, over half of abortions in the US were induced by these pills (The Guttmacher Institute). Additionally, halting the selling of the drug would most likely make it very challenging for women to access it, even in states where abortion is legal. Abortion pills are a quicker and more affordable option for abortions than surgical procedures, which range from approximately $600, early in the second trimester, up to $1,500-2,000 for later in the second trimester; abortion pills, on the other hand, cost about $580, which could save women seeking abortion a lot of money.

Raising a child is costly. The USDA’s estimated cost of raising a child in 2022 was between $15,438 and $17,375 a year. For those of lower socioeconomic status, and teens with unwanted pregnancies, this is a major problem if abortions or abortion pills are inaccessible, which could provoke them to put their child up for adoption. While adoption might appear to be a viable alternative, it is essential to recognize that the adoption system in the United States needs substantial reform to become a more appealing and viable option for women; this includes the high cost of adoption, the lengthy and complex process involved, and the lack of support for birth mothers during and after the adoption process. Without these changes, adoption may not be a sensible or desirable option for many women facing an unplanned pregnancy.

In addition, there is both a physical and mental toll women can experience during pregnancy, and it is most likely far more prevalent in women with unwanted pregnancies and teens, especially. The American Psychological Association (APA) has demonstrated that women who undergo unwanted pregnancies have a higher likelihood of experiencing mental health problems than those who planned pregnancies; these include depression and anxiety, both during and after pregnancy.

Abortion pills should remain accessible to every woman, and the decision to ban such pills is demonstrative of too much governmental power in American women’s lives and an infringement of their rights.