23 AG Praise Pharmacies for Decision to Sell Abortion Pills
A group of 23 attorneys general wrote to CVS and Walgreen expressing their support for the mail order sale of two abortion pills.
The drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, require a prescription but are considered safe for home abortions. The pharmacy decision will give millions of people access to “critical and sometimes life-saving medicines,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a letter Thursday to two pharmacy chains.
She and the attorneys general of California and Washington led the effort, as well as attorneys general from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York. Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Last month, the two companies announced their decision after the Food and Drug Administration passed a rule change that would allow retail pharmacies to dispense mifepristone to patients on prescription. They are now available through Planned Parenthood and other providers.
Mifepristone and misoprostol are commonly used for abortions and other purposes, including the treatment of miscarriages and stomach ulcers. The FDA has approved their use for over 20 years.
“Mifepristone and misoprostol are safe and effective medications that are prescribed by doctors for many purposes, including abortion,” Rosenblum said in a statement.
Walgreens and CVS must first obtain certification from the FDA.
On the other hand, a federal court decision is pending in Texas, where the lawsuit seeks to overturn the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. Senior Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden called on the federal agency and the Biden administration to ignore the injunction banning the drug. Wyden, a Democrat, said in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday that the potential injunction is “an affront to the Constitution and the rule of law in the United States of America.”
States are divided over reproductive rights after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, prompting several legislatures to impose further restrictions on abortion.
Another group of 20 attorneys general, led by Missouri, also wrote to pharmacy chains, warning that they would be violating federal law if they dispensed drugs through the mail.
In addition to Missouri, the other Attorneys General who signed this letter came from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas . , Utah and West Virginia.
Rosenblum criticized the move and their legal reasoning. Her group’s letter says the anti-abortion coalition is misinterpreting the law and ignoring court precedent that found that mailing these drugs is not against the law because they are approved for legal abortions.
“Attorneys general in anti-abortion states are trying to scare retail pharmacies from offering these critical drugs,” Rosenblum said. “But at a time when reproductive health is under threat, our panel of 23 Attorneys General strongly believes that we must encourage companies and providers to offer easily accessible, safe and confidential healthcare services as widely as possible.”
The approval of mifepristone by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000 is facing problems due to a federal lawsuit in Texas. A case filed in November by the conservative rights group Alliance Defending Freedom alleges that the drug poses a risk to patients’ health and should be banned.
U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kachsmarik, appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump, is expected to rule on a case that could eventually go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
On Thursday, Wyden warned that the adverse decision could affect access to the drug throughout the United States with an injunction.
Wyden, in his speech, urged the FDA and President Joe Biden to ignore any injunctions.
“Here’s what should happen if and when Judge Kaczmarik issues his nationwide injunction barring access to mifepristone,” Wyden said. “President Biden and the FDA should ignore this. Do not succumb to the “court wash”. Protect the fundamental rights and well-being of all women in America.”
Wyden added: “The FDA must continue to act in the same way as it has done for the last 23 years since mifepristone was first approved. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) needs this drug to remain on the market uninterrupted, no matter what the ruling says. Doctors and pharmacies should continue their work as if nothing had changed.”
To defend his position, Wyden cited the story of President Abraham Lincoln, who urged people to ignore Dred Scott’s ruling that blacks could never be U.S. citizens with constitutional rights.
Wyden said the answer is to ignore the decision “at least until the Supreme Court makes its final decision on the underlying issue.”
“I’m not saying this lightly,” Wyden said. Actually, I’ve never said that before.
This article first appeared in the Oregon Capital Chronicle, a sister site of the Nebraska Examiner on the state news network.
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