On Friday, Democratic and Republican attorneys general clashed over an attempt by anti-abortion doctors to withdraw the abortion pill mifepristone from the US market.
New York led a coalition of 22 attorneys general who argued that ditching the mifepristone pill would have “devastating consequences” for women. Mississippi led 22 Republican attorneys general who argued that the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone was “deeply flawed.”
The dueling lawsuits are linked to an escalating litigation in Texas federal court over a lawsuit filed last November by pro-life doctors to overturn FDA approval of mifepristone more than two decades ago.
Mifepristone is used in combination with misoprostol. the most common way to terminate pregnancy in the US, which accounts for about half of all abortions.
Abortion Rights Group NARAL Pro-Choice America, in an analysis released on Fridaysaid 40 million women would lose access to the abortion pill if the court overturned the FDA’s approval.
The New York-led coalition argued that withdrawing FDA approval would make the pill largely unaffordable, forcing women to either undergo a more invasive surgical procedure or opt out of having an abortion altogether.
They argued that surgical abortion is more costly and difficult to obtain, which will disproportionately affect women with lower incomes, low incomes, or those living in rural communities where there may not be access to a clinic.
“It will be devastating,” the attorney general told Judge Matthew Kasmari, who is leading the case in the US District Court for North Texas.
The Mississippi-led coalition backed doctors’ anti-abortion claims, calling the FDA’s handling of mifepristone “profoundly misguided.”
“For two decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has acted to establish a nationwide on-demand abortion regime by licensing widespread access to abortion chemicals—contrary to federal and state laws protecting life, health, and safety.” the Republican party said in a report. the Attorney General objected.
Food and Drug Administration, in your answer last month called the lawsuit “extraordinary and unprecedented.” Lawyers for the agency said they could not find a single previous example of a court reviewing an FDA decision to approve a drug.
Agency lawyers wrote that the FDA has approved mifepristone as a safe and effective method of terminating early pregnancy based on extensive scientific evidence. Lawyers argue that years of experience among thousands of women has confirmed that the drug regimen is safer than surgical abortion or childbirth.
Kachmarik on Thursday extended the key deadline in the case. He ordered one of the abortion pill makers, Danco Laboratories, to state his opposition to the lawsuit. The anti-abortion doctors who filed the case have until February. 24 answer.
“Forcing the FDA to revoke long-standing approval would seriously undermine the agency’s governing authority over whether drugs are safe and effective and would cause Danco direct and immediate damage by shutting down its business,” Danco Laboratories’ lawyers said in court.
Mifepristone became the center of the struggle to afford abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June.
Last month, the FDA changed its rules to allow certified retail pharmacies to dispense mifepristone. CVS And walgreensthe country’s two largest drugstore chains, said they are getting certified to dispense prescription drugs in states where it is legal.
Republican attorneys general also warned companies against mail-order pills in their states, indicating they would take legal action.
There are also lawsuits seeking to remove state restrictions on mifepristone, alleging that they are against FDA rules. GenBioPro, another abortion pill maker, is suing to overturn West Virginia’s ban. A North Carolina doctor disputes that state’s restrictions.
New York led a coalition of state attorneys general and Washington, D.C. to keep mifepristone in the market, including: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey , New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin.
Mississippi-led coalition against FDA approval of mifepristone includes: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee . , Texas, Utah and Wyoming.