Women can be prosecuted for taking abortion pills, Alabama’s attorney general said

A week after the federal government made abortion pills easier to obtain, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said Tuesday that women in Alabama who use abortion pills could be prosecuted. pregnant

Despite the wording in Alabama’s new Human Rights Protection Act that criminalizes abortion providers and restricts its use to people who have abortions. But, the attorney general’s office said, Alabama can rely on an outdated law, which was originally designed to protect children from meth lab smoke.

“The Human Rights Protection Act targets abortion providers, exempting women who have had or attempted to have an abortion from liability under the law,” the statement said. Marshall said in an emailed statement. eat unborn children.”

Next came the announcement change last week in the regulation of the two drugs commonly prescribed for abortion. The US Food and Drug Administration finalized a change to allow brick-and-mortar and mail-order pharmacies to provide mifepristone and misoprostol, two drugs used in more than half of abortions in the United States.

Before the change, people who use drugs for abortion must be picked up in specialized hospitals. Officials at the US Department of Justice proposed that carriers and the US Postal Service could deliver drugs in states that prohibit abortion. The new laws would expand access through phone and mail-order pharmacies but could create conflicts with anti-abortion states like Alabama.

Marshall said in the past that his office can be sued doctors at the US Veterans Affairs perform abortions for rape victims or non-citizens. He also mentioned people who are helping to organize abortions outside the state. may face criminal penalties. This is the first time he has said that police and prosecutors can arrest women who have had abortions.

“The promotion of remote control and the use of abortion pills puts women and unborn children at risk,” Marshall said in an email. “Elective abortion—including abortion pills—is illegal in Alabama. Nothing about the Ministry of Justice’s guidance changes that. Anyone who orders an abortion in Alabama does so at their own risk: I will vigorously enforce Alabama’s law to protect unborn life.”

In 2019, the Gov. Alabama Kay Ivey’s Human Life Protection Act, which prohibits abortion except in cases where the health of the mother is at risk. That law went into effect when the US Supreme Court struck it down Roe v. Wade last summer.

The law specifically states that women cannot be punished for having abortions. However, Marshall said, women who use drugs to induce abortions can be prosecuted under the dangerous drugs law.

Lawmakers passed the Dangerous Drugs Act in 2006 to protect young children from the fumes and drugs from meth labs. It wasn’t long before district attorneys began using the law to protect the babies of women who used various drugs during pregnancy. Judges at the Alabama Supreme Court upheld and upheld the charges against the pregnant women in 2013 and 2014.

Since then, the law has been used against more than a thousand Alabama women who used drugs during pregnancy. Its enforcement varies widely. District attorneys in some counties rarely apply the law to pregnant women, while others routinely arrest those who use any illegal substance, including marijuana, while pregnant.

Medicines law has been used to stop it women for many years who gave birth or gave birth after taking the drug. Etowah County officials jailed pregnant women for months pre-trial detention under conditions designed to protect infants, despite evidence that incarceration increases the risk of child loss angry. After publishing a research process in 2015 by ProPublica and Al.comlawmakers voted to amend the law so that it cannot be used against women who have legal prescriptions from doctors.

Lawyers and Pregnancy Justice, a legal organization that represents pregnant women, has fought to decriminalize pregnancy and abortion. Emma Roth, a staff attorney at the Pregnancy Court, says lawyers have twisted the dangerous drug law so that it can be used against pregnant women. Using the law to target those who use drugs to induce abortions would be illegal and undermine the goals of lawmakers who voted for the Human Life Protection Act, he said. this.

“The Alabama legislature made clear its opposition to any type of prosecution after acquitting patients of crimes under its abortion law,” Roth said in an email. “But Alabama’s attorneys and courts have shown a willingness to ignore the law time and time again in their attack to criminalize pregnant women. The Pregnancy Court is ready to challenge any efforts to expand drug laws to criminalize the use of abortion drugs.”

JaTaune Bosby Gilchrist, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, said women have the right to get prescriptions from outside doctors.

“The ACLU of Alabama is dismayed to learn that Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall continues to insert himself into a person’s medical examination room,” Gilchrist said. “Medical decisions should remain a private decision between the patient and the physician. The Alabama Attorney General has no authority to prohibit Alabamians from receiving legal and certified medical services outside of the state of Alabama.

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