". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Senators Introduce Bill to Legalize Sending Abortion Pills through the Mail

June 21, 2024

On Thursday, three Democratic senators introduced a bill to legalize the distribution of the abortion pill by mail.

The abortion pill has become America’s most popular form of abortion, due to its lower cost and liability to the abortion industry. Yet a federal law known as the Comstock Act prevents the abortion industry from mailing the pills to women, outlawing the shipping of “every article or thing designed, adapted or intended for producing abortion” via the U.S. mail. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced a bill to repeal the abortion provision of that bill.

“Anti-abortion extremists will continue to exploit any avenue they can find to get the national ban they champion, and I want to make sure my bill would shut down every one of those avenues,” Smith wrote. “We can’t let anyone — not the Supreme Court, not Mr. Trump and certainly not a random busybody from the 19th century — take away Americans’ right to have access to medication abortion.”

Smith, a former executive at Planned Parenthood, introduced her bill just days after the Supreme Court ruled in Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine that pro-life physicians and health care providers lacked standing to challenge the FDA’s irregular approval of the drug then known as RU-486 in 2000. “The Biden administration has pushed the FDA way beyond the limits of its authority,” said John Mize, CEO of Americans United for Life.

Mifepristone is the first of a two-drug cocktail taken to end the life of a child. It ends all nourishment for the child and detaches the child from the uterine wall. The second pill, misoprostol — an ulcer medicine being used off-label — expels the child from the womb. The mother is given the pills and must manage the abortion alone, often on the toilet.

The legislation makes good on a promise Smith and others on the Left made as the legal drama wound its way through the court system. During a Democratic Senate caucus meeting in March, Smith said she “will be ready to introduce legislation as it’s needed once we see what happens with this court case.” In a New York Times op-ed in March, Smith declared she would be “introducing legislation to take away the Comstock Act as a tool to limit reproductive freedom.” She derided the Comstock Act as a symbol of “Victorian puritanism” and belittled its namesake, Anthony Comstock, as a backwoods religious fanatic.

The Comstock Act should be repealed, Smith argued in part, because “[t]he Biden administration considers it utterly irrelevant.” The same month, Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) called the law “a zombie statute, a dead law that the far-right is trying to reanimate. The anti-abortion movement wants to weaponize the Comstock Act as a quick route to a nationwide medication abortion ban. Not on our watch.”

But pro-life advocates say the law belatedly seeks to legalize a lawless practice and, if successful, would threaten the health of babies and mothers alike.

“This commonsense law has several purposes — it protects people from accidentally using an abortion drug that could be incredibly harmful to them” Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. “It makes it more difficult for human traffickers to stockpile abortion drugs to distribute to unsuspecting women; it protects mail workers who recognize that abortion is the killing of an irreplaceable human being from participating in the process; and it allows state laws that protect unborn children’s lives to be effective.”

“In the case of the abortion drug, mifepristone, sending this drug through the mail would remove the in-person interaction a pregnant woman would have in order to receive the drug — an interaction that could save her life,” said Szoch.

Between 2000 and 2021, the FDA documented 4,207 adverse events from mifepristone use — including 26 deaths, 1,045 hospitalizations, 603 events requiring a blood transfusion, and 413 infections. That likely understates the figures, because in 2016, the Obama-Biden administration required only deaths caused by chemical abortion to be reported to the FDA’s Adverse Events Reporting System (FAERS).

“While every abortion is tragic and dangerous, because it takes an unborn child’s life, the abortion drug mifepristone is especially dangerous because of the grave risks it poses to women. Ectopic pregnancy, gestational age, and Rh compatibility cannot be diagnosed without an in-person visit. Additionally, sending these drugs through the mail leaves a woman alone in her bathroom, where she will likely pass what the abortion industry promised her would be a clump of cells — but which is clearly her visibly recognizable baby,” Szoch told TWS.

Her words were echoed by the testimony of British comedienne and actress Grace Campbell, who recently wrote in the British-based Guardian newspaper that her experience with chemical abortion inflicted physical pain far longer than her abortionist forecast:

“What he didn’t warn me was that I might bleed for a lot longer than that. In fact, for weeks and weeks to come every time I would go to the toilet I’d see chunks of bloody tissue. He also didn’t warn me I might feel depression like I’ve never experienced before.”

She writes that abortion would inflict such profound psychological suffering that “I would totally dissociate from my body in the hope that I would feel further away from my reality.”

She notes that her support for abortion actually deepened her trauma. Feminist dogma compounded her guilt over the abortion, because she wondered if “feeling guilty was in some way a dishonour to the women who fought for my right to be able to have this choice.”

Most of all, she mourned the life the abortion pills had stamped out, especially after seeing an ultrasound of her child, which:

“would provide a photographic memory for a grief I didn’t know I could feel. A grief for something I never knew, but something I know I would have loved very much. And that every time that image would flash into my head for months to come, I’d burst into tears like a child who’d tripped and wanted their mum.”

Congressional Democrats last tried to repeal the Comstock Act’s abortion provision in 1997, when then-Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) introduced the “Comstock Cleanup Act” in July 1997. It attracted 17 co-sponsors.

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.