WASHINGTON — The US Postal Service can continue to deliver prescription abortion drugs despite a June 2022 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a landmark decision on abortion rights, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
The department’s Legal Advice Office said in an opinion USPS requested that the mailing of mifepristone and misoprostol, commonly used to terminate pregnancies, did not violate an 1873 law known as the Comstock Law.
The USPS said in a statement that the opinion «confirms that the Comstock Act does not require the Postal Service to change our current practice, which has been to consider that packages containing mifepristone and misoprostol can be mailed under federal law in the same manner.» than other prescription drugs. ”
Mifepristone is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to induce an abortion up to 10 weeks pregnant. It must be followed by a second drug, misoprostol. Both drugs also have other uses.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the opinion.
In December 2021, the FDA permanently eased some restrictions on drugs, allowing them to be mailed instead of restricting them to dispensing in person.
The USPS said it took no position on abortion policy at the federal or state level, noting that the Justice Department’s opinion «specifies that the shipment of those drugs to a particular jurisdiction that may significantly restrict access to an abortion is not an option.» sufficient basis” for the USPS to refuse to deliver them.
The USPS said the Justice Department agreed with its “determination that, under the doctrine of intergovernmental immunity, any state law that may apply to the shipment of those prescription drugs may not apply to Postal Service employees who comply with their duties under federal law.»
The Supreme Court decision that overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade’s 1973 recognition of women’s constitutional right to abortion highlighted medical abortion, which accounts for more than half of all abortions in the US.
A Dutch provider of abortion pills by mail order saw increased demand in the wake of the decision, which allowed more than 20 states to start applying new restrictions on abortion.
Restrictions on abortion drugs that were lifted in 2021 had been in place since the drug was approved by the FDA in 2000. They were temporarily lifted in early 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing women to consult telemedicine health care providers and receive pills. by mail.