Anti-abortion rights movement expected to target abortion pill next if Roe v. Wade overturned

CHICAGO (WLS) -- If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the abortion debate is not expected to end; instead, the anti-abortion rights movement is expected to set medicated abortion as their next target.

"The abortion pill has become a huge focus of the pro-life movement because that is the future of abortion, which is really tragic," said Amy Gehrke, executive director of Illinois Right to Life.

The abortion pill, or medication abortion, accounts for half the abortions at Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

"Medication abortion is a method of terminating an existing pregnancy that is appropriate up to 11 weeks of gestation," explained Julie Uhale, Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

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Medication abortion is different than the so-called "morning after pill." Plan B is emergency contraception taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Medication abortion terminates a pregnancy in the early stages.

For Planned Parenthood of Illinois, medication abortion will play a big role in the post-Roe era. Earlier in May the organization launched a telehealth abortion pill by mail program so more patients can access medication abortion.

"That is really a way for patients in rural areas or otherwise not near a brick and mortar health center to gain access to health care," Uhale said.

RELATED: Illinois prepared to help out-of-state women if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Illinois Right to Life plans to combat the efforts by telling women the pill is not safe.

"We will focus a lot of our efforts at education on what the abortion pill does to their bodies," Gerhke said.

Medication abortion was approved by the FDA in 2000 and has been in use since.

"There is 22 years of clinical evidence that this is a safe and effective method of terminating a pregnancy," Uhale said.

While the demand for the pill will go up if Roe v. Wade is struck down, many states have already placed restrictions on it. Illinois law requires a patient to be physically in the state to get the pill by a telehealth appointment.
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