(CNS News) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill into law last week that prohibits the prescription and use of abortion drugs after seven weeks into a pregnancy, 49 days. The new law takes effect on Dec. 2.
The new law, Senate Bill 4, says that abortion-inducing drugs, such as Mifeprex and mifepristone, and other substances, are designed to terminate a pregnancy and, "with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the woman's unborn child."
This procedure, known as "medical abortion," may also be referred to as a "chemical abortion, a drug-induced abortion, RU-486, or the Mifeprex regimen."
In the new law, no one may administer an abortion drug unless they are a physician, and if the pregnancy is no older than 49 days. If a person violates this rule, they commit a state jail felony -- the pregnant woman "is not criminally liable for the violation."
In addition, the law prohibits sending abortion drugs through the mail. "A manufacturer, supplier, physician, or any other person may not provide to a patient any abortion-inducing drug by courier, delivery, or mail service," reads the law.
In a statement about the legislation, Texas's Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said, “Since I was first elected to the Texas Senate, protecting life has been one of my top priorities. When abortion-inducing drugs are available by mail, Texas women are put at risk from human traffickers and abusive spouses or significant others."
"By banning abortion-inducing drugs’ availability by mail, Senate Bill 4 strengthens Texas’ firm position that we are a pro-life state," he said.
Pro-abortion Adrienne Kimmell, acting president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said, “Anti-choice politicians in Texas are launching their attacks on abortion access from every angle imaginable. This law blatantly tramples on Texans’ fundamental freedoms and pushes access to care further out of reach."
"These efforts to undermine access to care come just a few weeks after Texas’ SB 8—the harshest and most extreme ban on abortion in the country—went into effect in the middle of the night," she added. "Anti-choice politicians have made their intentions abundantly clear, and they will stop at nothing to strip away reproductive freedom.”
SB 8 is the law that prohibits most abortions after an unborn baby's heartbeat can be detected by an ultrasound, which is usually six weeks into a pregnancy.
SB 8 passed back in May and went into effect on Sept. 1, 2021. Senate Bill 4, the abortion drug bill, was signed into law by Gov. Abbott on Sept. 17 and goes into effect on Dec. 2, 2021.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Early medical abortion is defined as the administration of medication to induce an abortion at ≤9 completed weeks’ gestation, consistent with the current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling for mifepristone (implemented in 2016).
"In 2018, 38.6% of all abortions were early medical abortions (a nonsurgical abortion at ≤9 weeks’ gestation). Use of early medical abortion increased 9% from 2017 to 2018 and 120% from 2009 to 2018."