Many patients learn about abortion options from websites like Plan C, a clearinghouse of information about medication abortion. And a growing number of patients in states with abortion bans are arranging to receive pills through telemedicine websites like Aid Access, a European-based service that has pills shipped to any state from India, and Hey Jane, one of several American-based services that will provide pills to patients who travel to a state where abortion is legal and where they can receive the medication by mail in those states.
In addition to Wyoming’s law banning abortion pills, 15 states restrict access to medication abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group supporting abortion rights. Those restrictions range from requiring that the drugs be provided by a physician to requiring the patient have an in-person visit with a doctor. Several states, including Texas and Arizona, have outlawed the mailing of abortion pills, and bills to ban mailing pills have been introduced in at least three other states this year.
“We are seeing efforts to further bar access to medication abortion because abortion opponents recognize that even with abortion bans in effect in 12 states and lack of access in an additional two, patients are still able to obtain abortion pills,” said Elizabeth Nash, state policy analyst for the Guttmacher Institute. “Now, abortion opponents have turned to the courts, attorneys general and state legislatures to further limit access to pills.”
Since January, when newly elected legislatures began to convene for the first time since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision ended the national right to an abortion, more than 500 bills in nearly every state have been proposed that are related to abortion.
Some states where Democratic legislatures have strong — or even unexpected — majorities are moving to strengthen abortion protections. In Minnesota, the first bill of the 2023 legislature, which made it harder for future legislatures and governors to water down those protections, was signed in January by Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat. In Michigan, the legislature repealed an abortion ban, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, is expected to sign it.
But a majority of new bills aims to restrict abortion access. And with several states now wrapping up their legislative sessions, bills are starting to land on governors’ desks.
Under the other new Wyoming law, the “Life Is a Human Right Act,” performing an abortion or administering abortion medication would be considered a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, and doctors would have their licenses revoked. The law bans abortion with narrow exceptions for rape, incest and dire risks to the pregnant woman’s life or health.