A week after the federal government made it easier to obtain abortion pills, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said that women in the state could be prosecuted for using those pills to end pregnancies, CBS News reports.
Alabama is among 18 states that have issued new abortion restrictions since the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe V. Wade in 2022. Marshall says these women can be prosecuted by the state even if the pills were prescribed from somewhere else in the country.
Although the state’s ban on abortion, which is targeted at providers, prevents women who have abortions from being charged criminally, Marshall suggested a 2006 law could be used instead.
“The Human Life Protection Act targets abortion providers, exempting women ‘upon whom an abortion is performed or attempted to be performed’ from liability under the law,” Marshal told CBS News in a statement. “It does not provide an across-the-board exemption from all criminal laws, including the chemical-endangerment law.”
The state’s chemical-endangerment law makes it a crime for anyone to “knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally expose a child to, ingest or inhale, or have contact with a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia.”
The Alabama Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the law, which was initially passed to protect kids from exposure to illegal drugs, also protects unborn children.
The federal government last week formally relaxed restrictions on abortion pills, reversing years of FDA requirements for pills to be dispensed at specialty offices and clinics. People can now obtain a prescription through a telehealth consultation with a health professional, then choose to pick up the medications in-store or to be received through the mail where permitted by law.
Marshall, who has previously referred to Alabama as the “protector of unborn life,” said in a statement issued on Wednesday that “promoting the remote prescription and administration of abortion pills endangers both women and unborn children.”