Misoprostol and Texas Flea Markets

Bloomberg posted an article with very interesting information on the availability of the abortifacient misoprostol (brand name Cytotec) at Texas flea markets.  Unfortunately, the article leads with the loaded headline, “Texas Threat to Abortion Clinics Dodged at Flea Markets.”

But Texas’ proposed changes in the law have virtually nothing to do with the existence of a black market in abortifacients.  Misoprostol–the same drug used by Florida’s John Andrew Weldon to induce his girlfriend’s abortion–is, like any other drug, illegally available with or without heightened legal requirements.  This is a “back-alley” abortion to be sure, but not the result of controversial abortion restrictions.  By purchasing misoprostol on the black market, one can avoid expensive (but basic) safeguards, such as a prescription requirements, FDA standards, and physician involvement.

Because misoprostol is already available at flea markets today–before the referenced legislative proposals–Texas demonstrates just the opposite of what the headline reports.  In fact, further restrictions on abortion are unnecessary to the existence of a black market.

 

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