The largest antiabortion organization in Texas has a team of advocates assigned to investigate citizens who might be distributing abortion pills illegally. Students for Life of America, a national antiabortion group, is making plans to test the water Erin Brockovich-style in large U.S. cities, searching for contaminants they say result from medication abortion. Republican lawmakers in Texas are preparing legislation that would require internet providers to block abortion pill websites in the same way they can censor child pornography. Nearly six months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, triggering abortion bans in more than a dozen states, many antiabortion advocates fear that the growing availability of illegal abortion pills has undercut their landmark victory. They are looking for new ways to crack down on those breaking the law, reports the Washington Post.
Antiabortion advocates had hoped the court decision would significantly decrease the number of abortions, while abortion rights activists have ramped up efforts to funnel abortion pills — a two-step regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol that is regarded as safe — into states with strict new bans, working with expanding international suppliers as well as U.S.-based distributors to meet demand. Many conservatives are complaining that the abortion bans are not being sufficiently enforced, even though much of the illegal activity is happening in plain sight, as abortion rights advocates seek to reach women in need. Leaders on both sides of the debate had not heard of any examples of people charged for violating abortion bans since Roe fell, a crime punishable by at least several years in prison across much of the South and Midwest. “Everyone who is trafficking these pills should be in jail for trafficking,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, who has spoken with Republican governors about the prevalence of illegal abortion pill networks. “It hasn’t happened, but that doesn’t mean it won’t.”