The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved changes to the labeling of the abortion pill mifepristone, potentially allowing more women to access it at a lower price and injecting the agency into a hot-button social debate playing out in states across the country. The new guidance increased the number of days women could take the abortion pill by a week, up to 70 days into a pregnancy. It also cut the drug's dosage by two-thirds, from 600 milligrams to 200 milligrams, a move that decreases the cost . The drug's manufacturer submitted data and information to have the label revised. This type of non-surgical, or "medical," abortion can be conducted at home, and some women chose it because they consider it to be a less-invasive option.
Anti-abortion protesters gathered Saturday at Planned Parenthood clinics to urge the government to remove federal funding from the health services provider. Leaders of the protest said that demonstrations were planned at clinics across the country and in response, abortion rights advocates planned their own counter-demonstrations in as many as 45 states. In many cases, where people from both sides of the issue met at the same locales, abortion rights advocates exceeded the number of anti-abortion protesters, Reuters reported. An estimated 6,000 people met in St. Paul, Minnesota, and local reports indicated 500 of them were anti-abortion protesters. Planned Parenthood, which was first created in 1916, has nearly 650 health centers.
Tracking abortion legislation in 2019 is like timing a swim meet where all the competitors have just exchanged their baggy board shorts for Speedos. Records are being broken left and right, with a growing number of states competing to install the most restrictive law in the country. And it's all moving much faster than anyone watching from the stands expected. Since the beginning of the year, 14 states have passed, introduced, or moved forward legislation that would ban abortions performed after about six weeks of pregnancy. Abortion bans this extreme--many people don't even know they're pregnant at such an early stage--are both recent and rare.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has vetoed a bill that would make abortion a criminal offence in the US state. Although she opposes abortion, she said the measure was vague and would not withstand a legal challenge. The state senate on Thursday backed the bill that would have punished doctors who terminate a pregnancy with up to three years in prison. They would also be barred from practicing medicine. To override the veto, lawmakers require a two-thirds majority in each chamber.
The changes came after Tennessee voters in 2014 approved an amendment that says nothing in the state constitution "secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion." The amendment also empowers state lawmakers to "enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion." A lawsuit questioning how votes in that election were counted was dismissed in a 2018 federal appellate decision.