Doctors Using Telemedicine to Prescribe Abortion Pills Across U.S., Lawmakers Working to Stop Them

The United States Supreme Court is yet to weigh in on the Mississippi abortion law that could undo Roe v. Wade abortion on demand. But some abortionists are already trying to work around state laws limiting the procedure by providing abortion pills via telemedicine, and lawmakers are trying to stop them.

The left-wing Kaiser Health Foundation wrote a glowing account of Dr. Mai Fleming, who flew to Texas from her home in San Francisco twice a month to abort babies until the state banned abortions after six weeks gestation. 

Then Fleming worked to get licensed in a dozen states so she could “cross” state lines to provide abortion pills via telemedicine.

“Where I live is an area where abortion is really readily accessible,” Fleming said. “My approach has been to broaden access beyond my geographic bubble.”

But abortionists like Fleming are getting pushback from lawmakers and others, according to a Foundation article published in the San Francisco Chronicle:

So far this year, 22 states have introduced a combined 104 proposals attempting to restrict medication abortions, such as by prohibiting the mailing of abortion pills and/or requiring them to be dispensed in person, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which researches and advocates for abortion rights. Four of those proposals have already been enacted by South Dakota.

In Georgia, lawmakers are considering a measure that would require the pills to be dispensed in person and would prohibit anyone from sending them through the mail. The bill, which has passed one of two chambers of the Georgia Legislature, also requires pregnant patients to appear in person for tests to check for rare complications and gather other information, a common strategy antiabortion lawmakers have used to make medication abortion more difficult to obtain.

“We wouldn’t have a telemedicine visit and teach a woman how to perform a surgical abortion,” Bruce Thompson, the Republican state senator who introduced the Georgia measure, said. “Why would we do that with pills when, frankly, we have plenty of physicians or medical clinics around the state?”

If the bill passes, Georgia will be one of 19 states that have banned telemedicine medical abortions.

Kaiser described the medical abortion as a woman taking two pills over two days — one to kill the baby and the other to expel it. 

Kaiser cited the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group, which said that in 2020 more than 50 percent of abortions were medical.

Dr. Lester Ruppersberger, a retired OB-GYN and former president of the Catholic Medical Association, said the decision to have a medical abortion should require an in-person appointment with a doctor.

“If somebody really wants an abortion, whether it’s surgical or it’s medical, and the closest facility where you can safely get access to that particular procedure is three hours away, then you’ll get in your car, perfectly healthy, and drive three hours to take advantage of the medical system,” Ruppersberger said.

Ruppersberger is also the medical director of two pregnancy centers in Pennsylvania that help women facing unplanned pregnancies.

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