Mifepristone, misoprostol: Pills are new targets in abortion fight

Mifepristone and misoprostol have become the next front in the fight over abortion access. Photo by Shutterstock.

Activists are preparing to ship abortion drugs to people in states that enact strict anti-abortion laws. The two drugs used to end a pregnancy are called mifepristone and misoprostol. These pills have become the next front in the fight over abortion access, with conservative states rushing to heavily restrict access to them, and activists trying to find ways around those policies. 

“People are gonna go ahead and get these pills anyway. So what the states are doing now since January is enacting much stricter criminal penalties. It's not just, ‘Well you might get in trouble.’ You're gonna have up to a 10-year sentence in jail or perhaps a $10,000 fine,” says Kate Zernike, New York Times reporter covering politics. “And I think that's where places [in] like Texas, that's where people are getting scared. And it really [creates] a chilling effect on pill providers.” 

She adds that the FDA is exploring ways to create a federal rule that could allow distribution: “If a pharmacy chain is interested in this, that might actually put some power behind … the argument that this is something that should be subject to federal regulation and the states can't regulate it.”