“In our state we want to make sure we’re protecting women that have become pregnant,” Thompson said. “And when the Biden administration authorized the mail order of the abortion pills without having a physician involved in that process, we feel that that is putting women in grave danger.”
Under the FDA guidelines, doctors must prescribe the abortion pill before it can be sent through the mail, but an in-person visit is not required. When asked how the state could seek to pass a law that is more restrictive than a federal regulation, Thompson, who is not a lawyer, declined to comment.
Kwajelyn Jackson, executive director of the Feminist Women’s Health Center, an abortion clinic, said her facility is still seeing patients in person and has not arranged for any abortion pills to be sent through the mail. Still, she said, SB 351 would create additional barriers between patients and abortion care, especially in rural parts of the state where it may be difficult to get to a doctor.
“It certainly is both not surprising and disappointing that even in the face of all of the other obstacles that the state Legislature has tried to put between people and their ability to access abortion care, they still feel compelled to double and triple down on removing all options from people,” Jackson said.
In 2019, the Georgia Legislature approved a bill that bans abortions once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, typically about six weeks into a pregnancy. The law was put on hold.
First approved by the FDA in 2000, “medication abortion” has increasingly become the preferred method for terminating a pregnancy up until 10 weeks.
Thompson’s bill also would require doctors to tell patients that their abortion could be reversed if they change their mind after taking the abortion pill. Medical groups, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have said the science does not support suggestions that a drug-induced abortion can be reversed.