The Alabama House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted to ban the abortion drug – RU486 - in Alabama.

House Bill 261 (HB261) is sponsored by State Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R-Muscle Shoals).

Sorrell said that, while our focus “has been on abortion clinic abortions the abortion industry has been promoting chemical abortions.”

“Over 20 women have died,” Sorrell said. “The risk of death is 10 times higher,” with a chemical abortion than with a surgical abortion and sometimes the baby is born alive.

HB261 would ban chemical non-surgical abortions in Alabama.

The legislation outlaws the sale or prescription of RU486 in Alabama.

State Rep. Alan Farley (R-McCalla) asked, “I don’t understand why this does not have a public hearing.”

Sorrell said that the person who had requested the public hearing withdrew their request and that no one has contacted the legislature in opposition to this bill.

State Rep. Mike Holmes (R-Wetumpka) asked, “Is this drug over-the-counter or prescription only?”

Sorrell answered, “Prescription.”

Holmes asked, “More and more prescription drugs are mail order. They come from out of the country. How do we control that?"

Sorrell said, “It would be illegal to ship them into Alabama.”

“This would make it illegal only after conventional medical testing has revealed that a person is pregnant,” Sorrell explained. “This bill was brought to me by Students for Life.”

State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) said, “I am not going to object to your bill here.”

“This would not prohibit the morning after pill,” Sorrell explained. “This does not prohibit any contraceptive.”

The committee gave the bill a favorable report.

The House Judiciary Committee is chaired by State Rep. Jim Hill (R-Odenville).

Following passage, the Alabama ACLU sent 1819 News a statement:

“The House Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report to HB261, a bill banning medications that provide the safest and most common form of abortion prior to 10 weeks. This ban would also prevent access to a medication that is regularly prescribed to medically manage miscarriages.”

Kaitlin Welborn is a reproductive rights attorney for ACLU of Alabama.

“This bill is not about women’s health,” Wellborn said. “Study after study has found that this medication is safer than either Tylenol or Viagra. Let’s call this bill what it is: another excuse for the Alabama Legislature to play doctor and meddle in the healthcare options available to people in this state.”

The full Alabama House could consider HB261 as early as Thursday.

Thursday is day 15 of the 2022 Alabama Regular Legislative Session.

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