Anti-Abortion Groups Plan to Investigate 'Pill Trafficking’

The biggest anti-abortion groups in Texas have put together special teams to look into the illegal distribution of abortion pills and the harm they do to the environment.

Key takeaways:
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    Conservative groups all over the United States are worried that strict new laws against abortion are not being fully or correctly enforced.
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    Since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, activist groups have developed covert networks to help people access abortion pills in places with strict abortion regulations.
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    Anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life is leading the way in the search for proof against illegal abortion pill trafficking.
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    Students for Life of America, another anti-abortion group in Texas, is working to prove the environmental dangers of abortion pills.

Conservative groups across the country expressed concern that strict new anti-abortion laws are not being fully or correctly enforced.

Six months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, anti-abortion groups worry that “pill trafficking” is allowing many illegal abortions to continue to take place.

Currently, researchers have no way to calculate how many people are able to get abortion pills by mail. Anti-abortion groups are working to change that.

Specifically, Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, is at the forefront of advocacy against ‘pill trafficking.’

Since June 2022, a growing number of activist groups have developed covert networks to help people get abortion pills in areas where abortion laws are especially strict.

One major abortion pill supplier in Mexico said that her organization is on track to deliver as many as 20,000 abortion pills by the end of 2022. Another Europe-based group said it had received about 3,600 queries per month since June. About two-thirds of those queries are from women in U.S. states with strict abortion laws.

Texas Right to Life has created a special team focused on finding an “airtight” case to prove illegal acts surrounding abortion. Once discovered, they plan to bring the case to one of Texas’ district attorneys, according to the group’s president, John Seago.

The group is now focused on Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman, who is very against abortion. Putman has spoken publicly about the difficulty of prosecuting cases like these.

“In order for one of these cases to get to a prosecutor’s office, someone is going to have to tell, and I don’t know who that would be,” said Putman.

Seago explains that his group will not bring any case to Putman’s attention unless they are sure it can be prosecuted.

“We’re not going to get involved until we have evidence, something credible we can take,” Seago said. "We’re trying to actually confirm who’s involved in these networks, how it’s being done.”

Another Texas anti-abortion group, Students for Life of America, argues that medication abortions are bad for the environment. Even though there is no proof, the group thinks that fetal remains that are flushed down the toilet after abortion pills are taken could pollute the water.

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins, expressed disappointment with state officials for failing to find evidence of water contamination and stated that she and her organization will conduct their own investigation.

“Let’s just get the damn water samples ourselves since we already know they’re not doing it,” said Hawkins.

The United States has a long history of putting people in jail for crimes related to pregnancy. A report from If/When/How, a group that supports abortion rights, says that between 2000 and 2020, 61 people were investigated or arrested for ending their own pregnancy or helping someone else end theirs.

During the recent midterm elections, there was a lot of support for laws that make it easier to get an abortion. This has made many Republican politicians think twice about putting more restrictions on abortion. Also, many Democratic midterm wins are seen as a reaction to the Supreme Court's decision in June.

“The next few months could pit the “true believers” against those who back anti-abortion policies to score political points.” Texas anti-abortion lawyer Jonathan Mitchell told The Washington Post.

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