Health Care

Dem AGs sue FDA to increase abortion medication access

It’s being led by Washington’s Bob Ferguson and Oregon’s Ellen Rosenblum.
Bottles of the drug misoprostol sit on a table at the West Alabama Women’s Center on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

Democratic attorneys general in 12 states sued the Federal Drug Administration on Friday to ease access for mifepristone, which is part of a two-drug abortion pill regimen at the center of heated state legislative and legal battles in the months since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the right to an abortion.

The lawsuit, led by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, states that the FDA has unnecessarily singled out the drug for excessive regulation, despite evidence that it is “safer than Tylenol,” according to a press release from Ferguson’s office.

“In this time when reproductive healthcare is under attack, our coalition of 12 states seeks to ensure that access to Mifepristone — the predominant method of safe and effective abortion in the US — is not unduly restricted.” Ferguson said in a statement.

“Our coalition stands by our belief that abortion is healthcare, and healthcare is a human right,” Rosenblum said.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, is joined by Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

It seeks an order directing the FDA to remove the restrictions that “impede and burden patients’ access to a safe, proven drug that is a core element of reproductive health care in the Plaintiff

Ferguson also filed a preliminary injunction asking the court to halt the enforcement of the FDA’s restrictions on mifepristone while the case continues.

The lawsuit comes as advocates on both sides of the issue await a ruling in a Texas lawsuit that could block the use of mifepristone across the country.

More than 20 Republican attorneys general signed on to a letter earlier this month threatening CVS and Walgreens, the country’s biggest pharmacy retailers, with legal action if they fill prescriptions for abortion pills through the mail. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) filed a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration’s July guidance that directed pharmacies to fill prescriptions to abortion-inducing medications.

Mifepristone and misoprostol, the other drug used in the regimen, have also been targeted by conservative state legislatures as they seek to enforce abortion restrictions. At least five states are considering bans on the medication.

Medication accounts for more than half of the abortions performed in the United States.