A federal lawsuit led by Oregon and Washington was filed on Thursday against the Food and Drug Administration to expand access to an abortion pill, mifepristone. The goal of these states is to allow the drug to be prescribed by any doctor or pharmacy, per Reuters.
The news: Currently, the sale of mifepristone is restrictive in the United States, and doctors must obtain special certification to administer the drug, Reuters reported.
- The lawsuit states that “Mifepristone is safer than many other common drugs FDA regulates, such as Viagra and Tylenol.”
- “Since this regimen was approved in 2000, mifepristone has been used approximately 5.6 million times in the United States. As the FDA acknowledged in 2016, mifepristone ‘has been increasingly used as its efficacy and safety have become well-established by both research and experience, and serious complications have proven to be extremely rare,’” the lawsuit said.
- The plaintiff states say that the abortion pill is now the most common method of pregnancy termination in the U.S. and that the current restrictions “impede and burden patients’ access to a safe, proven drug that is a core element of reproductive health.”
Which states are involved? According to the lawsuit, the following states are on board to sue the FDA:
- New Mexico.
- Rhode Island.
The bigger picture: Currently, in another ongoing case against the distribution of mifepristone, a lawsuit was filed by an anti-abortion organization, according to CBS. The organization claims that there hasn’t been enough research into the safety of the drug and wants to remove it from the market.
- The lawsuit will be decided on by a federal judge in Texas, CBS said, with the decision impacting an estimated 40 million women.
- Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who co-led the Washington suit, said to NPR, “So you’ll have two federal judges potentially looking at the future of mifepristone, whether to expand access to it or eliminate access altogether.” He says that the matter could potentially end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
About the abortion pill: Mifepristone was approved by the FDA in 2000, and is meant to end a pregnancy through ten weeks gestation, the FDA states.
- In order to receive the drug, patients can only go through a certified prescriber, who then has to inform them of the risks that may come with taking the pill. Several agreements and contracts must also be completed before the drug can be administered, according to the FDA.
- In recent years, according to NPR, the Biden administration has loosened restrictions on mifepristone by approving the drug to be delivered by mail and making it easier for pharmacies to obtain.
- NPR continued to say that “Major medical groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association filed an amicus brief in the Texas case calling mifepristone ‘thoroughly studied’ and ‘conclusively safe.’”