Explainer: Companies provide abortion drugs in light of state restrictions

As more states enact strict abortion laws and bans, some companies are tragically stepping in to provide medication abortions through drugs obtained overseas. This development narrows the window of opportunity to serve women in crisis and educate them about other options, ends the life of a baby, and could pose a greater risk to the mother’s life.

Mifepristone (formerly known as RU-486) blocks the hormone progesterone, causing the lining of the uterus to thin and preventing the embryo from staying implanted and growing. In most medication abortions, mifepristone is followed about two days later by a drug called misoprostol, which causes the uterus to contract and expel the fetus and placenta.

Previously, the first dose had to be administered in a doctor’s office. During the coronavirus pandemic, however, that requirement was suspended. It is unclear whether it will be reinstated. For now, a telehealth visit is the only requirement for obtaining a medication abortion.

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