Lawmakers call for studying environmental impact of abortion pill 

abortion pill Credit: Shutterstock

Here’s a look at abortion-related and pro-life developments that took place in Washington and various U.S. states recently.

Environmental fallout from chemical abortion

Lawmakers are calling for the Biden administration to embark on a study of the environmental impact of abortion medications given the increasingly widespread use of the abortion pill.

In a May 29 letter to the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and Rep. Josh Brecheen, R-Oklahoma, and others highlighted concern about the impact of the abortion drug mifepristone on the water.

Mifepristone is the first of two drugs taken to induce a chemical abortion. Mifepristone blocks progesterone, which is necessary to support the unborn child, while the second drug expels the dead unborn baby. 

Chemical abortions are primarily self-induced at home, meaning that “the blood and placental tissue containing mifepristone’s active metabolites are flushed into wastewater systems along with the fetal remains of the unborn child,” the senators noted in the letter. 

The letter emphasized the “dramatic rise” of chemical abortion, noting that 63% of U.S. abortions last year were medication-induced, compared with 24% in 2011, according to a Guttmacher study.

The authors further argued that the drug “has never been sufficiently studied.” The drug, which was approved in 2000 by the Food and Drug Administration, “relied on a 1996 environmental assessment” that didn’t consider the potential environmental impact of human fetal remains and the drug, they alleged.

“Any studies that have been conducted in the past should be repeated and updated to reflect the fact that the drug is far more prevalent today than it was three decades ago,” the lawmakers insisted.

The authors asked for a response by July 15.

Florida to launch pregnancy and parenting website 

Florida announced the launch of a website with resources for pregnancy and parenting following a law set to take effect on July 1.

HB 415 requires the Department of Health along with other departments “to maintain a website that provides information and links to certain pregnancy and parenting resources.”

These resources include educational materials on pregnancy and parenting, maternal health services, prenatal and postnatal services, financial assistance, and adoption services, among other things. 

The website is set to be operational by Jan. 1, 2025, and Florida is appropriating more than $450,000 for the project.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis approved the bill on May 17, according to a May 19 press release from his office. The bill was first sponsored by Republican Erin Grall. The Florida Legislature approved the bill by an 83-33 vote in the House and a 27-12 vote in the Senate.

Tennessee passes bill criminalizing abortion trafficking 

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Tennessee passed a law on Tuesday that makes it illegal for non-parental adults to transport a pregnant minor out of state for abortion or to provide her with abortion-inducing drugs without the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian.

Stacy Dunn, president of Tennessee Right to Life, said in a press release that the organization is “grateful” that Lee signed the bill.

“Parents have a right to be involved with their daughters’ well-being,” Dunn said. “The abortion industry has no right to keep parents in the dark at a time when their daughters are so vulnerable and could possibly be in danger.”

Tennessee will be the second state in the U.S. with a law of this nature, following the example of Idaho, which required parental consent last year.

Tennessee Right to Life lobbyist Will Brewer called the passage “a victory for Tennessee parents and their daughters.”

“This law will go a long way in protecting young girls from predators who want to cover their crimes and from an abortion industry that exploits young girls for profit,” he concluded.

Tennessee protects life at all stages of pregnancy with exceptions for abortion to save the life of the mother. However, abortion is legal in the neighboring state of North Carolina for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill, HB 1895, on May 28, and it is set to go into effect July 1. The bill makes exemptions for ambulance drivers, emergency transport, and common transportation services.

This story was updated May 31, 2024, at 10:29 a.m. ET with the comments from Stacy Dunn and Will Brewer.

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