Anti-abortion Legislation Pulls in Healthcare Logistics Providers

The widening controversy over access to abortion medications draws a Congressional query to UPS, FedEx and DHL

Numerous state laws have been passed or proposed in the wake of the US Supreme Court's decision to remove constitutional protections to abortion. Potentially, these laws could enable prosecutors to gain access to who has provided access to, or received, abortion medications. One response, from a group of members of the US Congress, is to seek meetings with package delivery companies "to ensure individuals' rights to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure are upheld" by the delivery companies, according to a statement by the Representatives (Raja Krishnamoorthi [D-IL], Dean Phillips [D-MN], Ayanna Pressley [D-MA], Katie Porter [D-CA] and Cori Bush [D-MO]).

Some abortion medications are available over the counter, depending on the state; other states require a physician’s or pharmacist’s authorization. Mail order is possible in most cases. A variety of anti-abortion medications are FDA-approved—which precludes states making possession of them illegal. Meanwhile, the intent of some anti-abortion state laws is to enable criminal investigation of the delivery or use of such medications; even telemedicine is being drawn into the controversy. Even before some of these laws are tested for their constitutional legality, the five Representatives want to clarify how the delivery companies will meet such investigations. Specifically, they want policies to require search warrants before access to shipments are granted; to not voluntarily reveal such shipments; to control and quickly delete data recording such shipments; and to limit the collection of such data.