(HorizonPost.com) – Last month, Europe-based Aid Access, one of the largest abortion pill suppliers, adopted a new procedure allowing medical professionals in US states with telemedicine Shield laws to prescribe and ship abortion pills to women living in states where abortion is restricted, the Washington Post reported.
Previously, Aid Access only permitted European doctors to prescribe and ship abortion pills to women in the United States, which meant that American women had to wait weeks to receive the pills. But with the new program, women can get the abortion pill prescribed and shipped within days.
Aid Access is taking advantage of Shield laws in Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, and Washington to protect abortion providers who prescribe and ship abortion pills to any state that limits or bans their use, effectively creating a pipeline for legally prescribed abortion pills.
Since the program launched in June, seven providers affiliated with Aid Access have shipped 3,500 doses of the abortion pill to women in states with abortion restrictions. By the end of the year, these seven providers could facilitate a minimum of 42,000 abortions in restricted states, a number that could go even higher if more medical providers sign up with Aid Access.
One doctor in New York told the Washington Post that while she might be breaking the law in Texas, she does not live there, therefore, shipping the abortion pill to the state is legal.
Drexel University Law professor David Cohen described Shield laws as “a huge breakthrough” for women in restricted states who want an abortion. He told the Post that as long as providers remain in a state with a Shield law, they are “protected in many ways.”
However, some lawyers warn that doctors could still face repercussions even if they stay out of states that prosecute abortion providers for violating restrictions on abortion. Legal experts told the Washington Post that at the very least, the “gray area” surrounding Shield laws may ultimately end up in court.
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