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Mail order abortion pills are the next major legal battle

Mifepristone and Misoprostol, often called Plan C, are FDA-approved medications that can be taken at home to induce an abortion. Here's how they work...

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, legal experts and political pundits said the next big legal fight will be over the abortion pill, an FDA-approved medication that can be taken at home to induce an abortion.

The abortion pill is a series of five pills taken over a couple of days. It's a combination of the medications Mifepristone and Misoprostol, often called Plan C. Together they cause the uterus walls to thin and contract expelling the embryo.

The FDA-approved pills must be taken in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and made up 54 percent of all American abortions in 2020.

There are websites where someone can Zoom with a doctor and get prescribed the medication. It arrives in the mail within a week. United States Attorney General Merrick Garland said about the medication, "states may not ban based on disagreement with the FDA's expert judgment about its safety and efficacy." But South Dakota's governor Kristi Noem is working to keep the pills from being mailed into her state.

"I brought a bill that would ban telemedicine abortions, which means a doctor on the internet or over the phone could not prescribe an abortion for an individual because these are very dangerous medical procedures," Noem said.

Legal experts say they expect the Supreme Court to take up the issue of abortion pills next year, but no matter what the High Court decides, a ban on abortion pills would be hard to enforce.

"It's going to be difficult to stop and there's already organizations that do this internationally where you actually speak to a doctor in Europe and then the pills are mailed to you from out of the country," said Elizabeth Weise who has reported extensively on Plan C for USA Today.

To be clear the abortion pill, Plan C, is not the same thing as Plan B. Plan B prevents fertilization and keeps the embryo from attaching to the uterus. It will not work if a fertilized embryo is already implanted. Plan C caused that fertilized embryo to exit the body.

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