The state of Tennessee just turned its clocks back to a time before clocks, apparently, as Gov. Bill Lee signed a law making it a Class E felony with a $50,000 fine for anyone to get an abortion pill through the mail, the Tennessean reports.
According to HB 2416, abortion pills may only be given to a patient in a doctor’s office by a physician. A doctor “must examine the patient in-person” and “inform the patient that the patient may see the remains of the unborn child in the process of completing the abortion.”
A medicated abortion has become the most common method in the U.S. in terminating early-term pregnancies up to 10 weeks. According to The New York Times, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permanently approved abortion pills by mail and through telehealth consultation in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The new law states: “A manufacturer, supplier, pharmacy, physician, qualified physician, or other person may not provide an abortion-inducing drug via courier, delivery, or mail service.”
Lee’s signature comes just days after a draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court indicating a ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked to Politico.
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The bill additionally reads that all patients receiving abortion pills are required to return for a two-week follow-up visit with the provider.
The original bill would have come with a 20-year prison sentence, but has since been amended.
One of the line items in the bill also covers “informed consent counseling services” about “abortion pill reversal,” a myth that has been widely dismissed as false.
“Anti-abortion advocates and lawmakers insist that abortion reversal should be offered to any pregnant person seeking a medical abortion; however, offering this procedure is extremely problematic. Studies supporting this procedure are not backed by an institutional review board or ethical review committee, raising concern for the protection of human subjects in these hormonal experiments,” according to Planned Parenthood.
“Mifepristone alone does not terminate pregnancies - in fact, as many as half of women who take only mifepristone continue their pregnancies. Therefore, there is no data to support that the injection of progesterone is what is “reversing” abortions. Forcing doctors to share this information supports the narrative that people often regret their abortion, which is not the reality,” the Planned Parenthood website reads.
In 2019, Tennessee passed a “trigger law” bill banning all abortions in the state 30 days after the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Including Tennessee, there are 13 states across the nation that have signaled their readiness to ban abortions in the same way.
Editor's note: An alternate headline mentioned Plan B, which is emergency contraception and not an abortion pill. The alternate headline has been removed. Here is more information on Plan B and its availability.
How Plan B Works:
- Plan B One-Step emergency contraception is not an abortion pill. It is a progestin-only emergency contraceptive that helps prevent pregnancy before it starts by temporarily delaying ovulation or the release of an egg from the ovary. It will not impact an existing pregnancy and it will not be effective if a woman is already pregnant.
Availability of Plan B:
- The availability and access of Plan B One-Step is governed nationally by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Plan B is not in any way connected to the Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade. Plan B is currently available over-the-counter nationwide and will continue to be made available, at all major retailers without a prescription, ID, or age restriction.