Republican lawmakers in Iowa have introduced a bill to make manufacturing or prescribing mifepristone, a main ingredient in abortion drugs, a felony.
The bill, House File 146, makes it a Class C felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and “a fine of at least $1,370 but not more than $13,660” to “manufacture, distribute, prescribe, dispense, sell or transfer” mifepristone.
Women who take the drug will not be subject to criminal prosecution.
According to the bill text, the law “shall not be construed to prohibit the sale, use, prescription, or administration of any contraceptive agent administered prior to conception or before a pregnancy can be confirmed through conventional medical testing.”
Abortion is currently legal in the state until 20 weeks of pregnancy, and prescription abortion is the most popular method of terminating pregnancies. Drug-induced abortion is the most effective when used in the first 10-11 weeks of pregnancy.
The medications have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for abortions after 10 weeks of pregnancy.
Texas and Indiana are currently the only states with full or partial bans on medication abortions that the courts have not blocked, according to a report from The Hill.
The use of abortion drugs is banned after seven weeks of pregnancy in Texas and after ten weeks in Indiana.
“Twenty-nine states, including the Hawkeye State, have implemented laws that specifically require physicians to administer the medications for an abortion, while 18 states require that a clinician be physically present when the medication is administered, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights group that broke off from Planned Parenthood in 2007,” the Hill report explains.
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that retail pharmacies will be able to provide abortion pills.
“Mifeprex and its generic Mifepristone Tablets, 200 mg, are available under a single, shared system risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS), known as the Mifepristone REMS Program, which sets forth the requirements that must be followed for mifepristone for medical termination of pregnancy through ten weeks gestation,” the FDA said.
The agency urged people not to buy the drugs online without a prescription.
“The FDA does not have regulatory oversight of prescription medicines from outside the legitimate U.S. drug supply chain; therefore, the FDA cannot ensure the safety, effectiveness, or quality of those medications,” the FDA warned.