by Sophie Trist
Since the end of Roe v. Wade, medication-induced abortions have been on the rise. The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research and advocacy group, estimates that the abortion pills Mifepristone and Misoprostol now account for over half of U.S. abortions. The Biden administration aims to make these medications more accessible, saturating our communities with the violence of abortion and potentially leading to an increase in reproductive coercion and abuse. Until now, abortion pills could only be dispensed by licensed clinicians, but under relaxed FDA regulations, the pill may soon be available at many local pharmacies. Widely available abortion pills could open the door for increased violence perpetrated by abusers and human traffickers.
In the fall of 2022, a Texas grand jury indicted thirty-eight-year-old Houston attorney Mason Herring for allegedly slipping an abortion pill into his wife's drink, killing their unborn child. This is far from the only instance of men using these pills to kill their preborn children without their partner’s consent. In 2018, senior Trump aide Jason Miller was credibly accused of giving his pregnant mistress a smoothie which contained Mifepristone. The woman lost her baby and nearly lost her life. That same year, a Wisconsin man named Jeffrey Smith tried to coerce his girlfriend into aborting their baby, and when that failed, he ordered mifepristone and misoprostol online and slipped them into her water bottle. Fortunately, the woman noticed the pills crushed in the water, and she and her baby were spared.
In May of 2017, Dr. Sikander Imran of Arlington, Virginia was arrested for slipping an abortion pill into his girlfriend's tea, killing their seventeen-week-old child. Imran was sentenced to twenty years in prison for fetal homicide, but he will only serve three. In 2013, John Weldon pleaded guilty to fetal homicide after tricking his girlfriend Remee Lee into taking an abortion pill. “Every day is a nightmare for me ever since this began,” Ms. Lee told CNN.
Anti-abortion states such as Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, and South Dakota have moved to restrict abortion pills to protect pregnant people and their unborn children. In light of the FDA’s updated regulations, it is not yet clear how many pharmacies will be providing abortion pills or which states will challenge the administration in court. What is in no doubt is that if abortion medication becomes available at any Walgreens or CVS with very little oversight, the consequences for women and unborn children could be catastrophic. As always, more marginalized and vulnerable women will be most at risk from reproductive coercion. We must do all we can to keep this insidious abortion violence out of our communities and drugstores.