With Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's signature on Saturday, a bill that bans telemedicine abortions in the state has become law.
Senate Bill 260 stipulates that "No physician shall personally furnish or otherwise provide an abortion-inducing drug to a pregnant woman unless the physician is physically present at the location where the initial dose of the drug or regimen of drugs is consumed at the time the initial dose is consumed."
In July, a federal judge made it legal for women to obtain abortion-inducing drugs without seeing a health-care provider, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason he suspended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rule that had previously required an in-person visit.
A woman inducing abortion with medication must take Mifeprex, which blocks the vital pregnancy hormone progesterone, and misoprostol, to initiate contractions and miscarriage.
Some critics of telemedicine abortion say it is dangerous for women. Between the 2000 approval of Mifeprex and the end of 2018, 24 women taking the drug have died, according to the FDA. In addition, there were several cases of widespread systemic infection called sepsis, including some that proved fatal. The FDA says that, in some of these deaths, what exactly caused the death is unknown.
"Although every chemical abortion is a tragedy than ends a baby's life, this law helps prevent further loss of life by protecting women from an abortion industry which puts profits before safety," said Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis. "Planned Parenthood's use of telemedicine to dispense abortion-inducing drugs cuts their own costs at the expense of basic health and safety standards. Patient safety shouldn't have a price tag. Women deserve better."