February 7, 2013 — The Mississippi Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on Tuesday approved a bill (SB 2795) that would tighten restrictions on medication abortion, the AP/Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports. The bill now advances to the full Senate. Meanwhile, a companion House measure died in committee on Tuesday.
The Senate measure, introduced by Sen. Angela Burks Hill (R), states that physicians must adhere to FDA protocols when administering abortion-inducing drugs. In practice, this would prohibit the use of medication abortion after seven weeks from a woman's last period; many doctors currently use the method up to nine weeks.
Felicia Brown-Williams, who lobbies for Planned Parenthood in Mississippi, said, "The FDA protocol for medical abortion is an outdated procedure and it's not commonly used."
The bill also would mandate that a woman return to the doctor's office to take the second of the two drugs used in a medication abortion, rather than taking the second pill at home. In total, a woman would be required to visit the office four times: before she receives the prescription, when she takes the first pill, when she takes the second pill and a follow-up two weeks later (AP/Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 2/5).