What role will abortion pills play in a post-Roe v. Wade nation?

Abortion pills, known as medication abortion, are expected to take center stage after the Supreme Court struck down a nearly 50-year-old precedent with a 6-3 vote to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24. 

Medication abortion is a two-treatment process to induce an abortion in the first 70 days of pregnancy, with an oral ingestion of 200 milligrams of mifepristone and 800 micrograms of misoprostol 24 to 48 hours after the first pill, according to the FDA. The federal agency approved mifepristone in 2000, and the two-step regimen was approved in 2016.

With nine states immediately banning abortions, 12 states expected to severely restrict or ban them in the next few weeks, and nine states dependent on a potential change in party control after midterm elections, abortion pills may be the next battle for anti-abortion advocates, according to The New York Times

The FDA authorized mail-order medication abortion in December 2021, but 19 states have outlawed the practice since then. More state legislators are poised to ban abortion pills, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, The Hill reported June 26. 

In 2020, medication abortion accounted for more than half of the nation's abortions. 

To receieve medication abortion, patients must first have an appointment with a physician in person, by phone or by video, or people can simply fill out a form, according to the Times

While the nation's five largest pharmacies don't currently offer mail-order abortion pills, there are a few companies that offer medication abortion, such as Hey Jane, Just the Pill and Honeybee Health. Mere hours after the Supreme Court's ruling, nonprofit organization Just the Pill reported a fourfold increase in appointment requests for abortion pills, the Times reported.

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