Don’t Be Misled: What You Need to Know About the Comstock Act

Jordan Estabrook - 26 Jun 2024

Many are asking this question these days in official Washington, D.C.: Does the law matter to those in control of the federal Democratic Party and the Biden-Harris Administration?  

The answer seems to depend on WHICH law, at a time in which blocking the entrance to an abortion facility can result in prison time, even as students and pro-terrorist protestors walk away from charges for blocking access to education. But one law in particular – The Comstock Act – is getting a lot of attention as pro-abortion activists can’t seem to decide if they should care about it or not.  

The Comstock Act is a pre-Roe law that says you can’t mail things intended to cause an abortion. At one time, it also prohibited the mailing of contraception, but that changed, showing that some people really can read on the abortion-supporting side of the legal aisle.  

But for many years, Comstock was mostly ignored, as Chemical Abortion Pills were not widely mailed and as the legal rulings of Roe and Doe – now GONE — claimed to protect all abortion.  

Things have changed, as during the COVID crisis, the Biden Administration forced regulation changes to allow for death by mail. But the question is, how legal is that?  

During the arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court case, FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, one line of questioning sent a shiver up the spines of abortion advocates: Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito’s frequent Comstock Act references, questioning whether the Biden Administration considers this law as they expand nationwide access to mifepristone through Chemical Abortion Pills and No Test, Online Distribution.   

In this lies a fundamental question: Does the Comstock Act still apply today, and by mailing death by pills, is Biden’s FDA breaking that law?   

The short answer to both questions is yes.   

“With respect to the Comstock Act as relevant here, the Comstock Act says that drugs should not be mailed through the — either through the mail or through common carriers,” stated Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer Erin Hawley to Justice Thomas. “So we think that the plain text of that, Your Honor, is pretty clear.”   

It is clear, but to understand it now, we must go back to the past and review some history. 

What is the history of the Comstock Act?   

In 1873, the Comstock Act, named after Anthony Comstock, head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, made it illegal to send “obscene, lewd or lascivious,” “immoral,” or “indecent” publications through the mail.   

The broad nature of the legislation included pornography, obscene writing, birth control, and abortion pills, among other items. The act, 18 U.S. Code § 1461, can be read and easily understood at the Cornell Law School website.    

Is the Comstock Act Outdated?  

Given the Comstock Act’s description and America’s current state, it’d be easy to think it’s outdated. Nowadays, soft porn litters streets, stores, homes, and phones with advertisements, magazines, social media, apparel, and so forth. It’s more common to see it than to avoid it.

Birth control use is also prevalent, with many insurance companies mailing birth control to female patients. The development of mail-in birth control traces back to none other than Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger. For all her evil intentions, Sanger’s foresight led her to challenge the Comstock Act, and over 90 years ago, she lobbied and won to overturn birth control provisions in 1936.  

Why is the Comstock Act Relevant Now?  

However, birth control by mail wasn’t enough for abortion advocates. Now, they want mail-in Chemical Abortion Pills.  

Whether it’s right or not, some things change with time, like what’s acceptable imagery or accessibility of birth control, but the Comstock Act never allowed abortifacients to land in mailboxes. As the abortion industry and its supporters declare the Comstock Act ancient history, the truth is it doesn’t matter how old or new a law or situation is. If it fits their abortion agenda, they’ll latch onto it and never let go.   

As noted by SFLA Vice President of Media and Policy Kristi Hamrick in a recent article:   

“The abortion-supporting left has said that the Comstock Act is an ‘old’ law – too old to follow – and that pro-life Americans are improperly interpreting it. This is almost too silly to discuss, as the abortion industry doesn’t care how OLD a law or idea is, only how well it supports abortion. Just this month in Congress, the ERA, an idea more than 100 years old, got full support. And as NARAL and others have noted, it would introduce abortion into the Constitution, which isn’t new either.”  

Sanger paved the way with mail-in birth control so that abortion zealots could now champion mail-in Chemical Abortion Pills.  It’s why the abortion industry used the COVID-19 pandemic to prey on women and expand telehealth to teledeath. Though it should be obvious, making a virtual appointment with a doctor is NOT the same as getting life-threatening pills without an ID or verification of age.   

Should the Abortion Industry Ignore the Comstock Act?  

They would like to, but the answer is no.   

While elements and language of the act evolved, abortion, the killing of a preborn child, and threatening the life of the mother remain the height of immorality. The immorality referred to in the Comstock Act transcends time. Still, the Biden Administration, Planned Parenthood, and other abortion vendors want the public to ignore this fact and disengage their minds.   

How are Abortion Supporters at the Federal Level Fighting Back?  

Recently, Democratic Party legislators in the U.S. House and Senate filed a bill to eliminate the Comstock Act prohibitions.  

READ: Democratic Leaders in the U.S. House & Senate Go After the Comstock Act, Fighting to Risk Women’s Lives & the Environment to make it Easy to Sell Chemical Abortion Pills

Students for Life Action (SFLAction) President Kristan Hawkins called The Stop Comstock Act, pushed by Rep. Becca Balint (D-VT) and Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) along with a who’s who of abortion industry profiteers and Democratic Party legislators, “the worst kind of political payback given the risks of Online, No Test distribution of Chemical Abortion Pills to women and to the environment. These politicians don’t care who dies as long as a baby doesn’t survive, and the abortion lobby gets paid.” 

That piece of legislation isn’t likely to succeed in this session. Still, it represents the abortion lobby’s wish list to get rid of Comstock, along with any demand to protect women, the preborn, and the environment.  

“Women are exposed to injury, infertility, and death without the kinds of screenings like an ultrasound or blood type evaluation and treatment,” said Hawkins. “We know that abusers are using the drugs against women without their knowledge and consent, and this kind of distribution to Americans’ homes means that chemically tainted blood, placenta tissue, and human remains are flushed into America’s waterways – something that neither hospitals nor abortion vendors are legally permitted to do. The big winner of Chemical Abortion Pill trafficking is the abortion industry as they cut costs for testing, personnel, and follow-up care, cashing in while they drop pills in the mail, abandoning women to whatever happens next.” 

And here is another tactic – ignore it altogether.  

In 2022, the General Counsel of the U.S. Postal Service issued a memorandum finding—surprise—that Comstock did not apply to their delivery of death by mail. Yet, that is something that can clearly be argued in court, and we expect it will.  

Ironically, this legal conflict is the result of the Democratic operatives weaponizing federal power, especially during COVID, to push Online, No Test Distribution of Chemical Abortion Pills by mail. And now, this legal issue is thrust into the spotlight of the abortion battle.  

So don’t be misled: the Comstock Act is still alive and well, and abortion vendors may finally be held responsible for brazenly and constantly breaking it, especially in a new administration in which the rule of law includes paying attention to the laws themselves.  

READ NEXT: Hold Our Beer: Abortion-Loving Democrats are So Desperate They’re Handing out Booze and Birth Control

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