19th Century Law Might Support GOP’s Medication Abortion Ban

(RepublicanReport.org) – According to a 2022 report from ABC News, more than half of all abortions in the United States are done using medication. With Roe v. Wade a thing of the past, some are turning to abortion medication through the mail system to grant women access to necessary healthcare. At the end of the year, the FDA lifted restrictions on mifepristone — one of the abortion drugs — to allow it to go through the mail. Now, reports say if the GOP wins the presidency in 2024, they could use an old law to stop the practice in its tracks.

In April, Axios reported that anti-abortion rights groups were looking to the Comstock Act from 1873 to stop medical abortions. The old law states it is illegal to mail what was at the time considered “obscene, lewd” and “lascivious.” The language also roped in “every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion.” While the original language included contraception, Congress removed that in 1971.

On November 15, Axios broached the subject of the Comstock Act again. This time, the outlet said a Republican president, if they so choose, could use the 1873 law to ban the distribution of abortion drugs without congressional approval. While that is one interpretation of the law, the Department of Justice disagreed. In December 2022, the agency released a memo stating the Comstock Act does not apply as long as the sender believes the recipient will use the medication lawfully.

Abortion continues to be on the ballot, with Republicans generally opposed to the medical procedure and Democrats in support of the issue. According to NPR, abortion rights already won big during the 2023 elections. It’s unclear what type of impact it will have on elections next year. However, several states will have the issue on the ballot for voters to weigh in, following in Ohio’s recent footsteps.

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