Boxes of mifepristone, the first pills administered in a medical abortion, are readied for patients at the New Mexico Women’s Reproductive Clinic in Santa Teresa, U.S., on January 13, 2023.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
A coalition of a dozen Democratic attorneys general sued the Food and Drug Administration on Friday to force the agency to drop all remaining restrictions on the abortion pill, the latest in an escalating series of legal battles over access to the drug.
The attorney general has asked a federal court in eastern Washington to declare that the abortion pill, mifepristone, is safe and effective and that any remaining drug restrictions are unconstitutional.
The litigation led by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum. The attorneys general of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont were also part of the lawsuit.
The attorney general also asked the court to prevent the FDA from taking any action that would remove mifepristone from the market or reduce its availability.
Mifepristone, used in combination with misoprostol, is the most common method of terminating a pregnancy in the US and accounts for about half of all abortions.
The lawsuit, filed Friday, puts the FDA at the center of deep controversy over access to abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade last summer.
A coalition of doctors who oppose abortion sued the FDA in federal court in Texas withdraw the agency’s approval of mifepristonewhich dates back more than 20 years, and pulled the drug from the US market.
The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000, but placed restrictions on how the drug is dispensed. The agency has gradually eased these restrictions over the years and dropped the personal dispensing requirement.
However, certain regulations still apply.
In January, the FDA allowed retail pharmacies to dispense mifepristone if they passed the certification process. The patient must have a prescription from a health care provider who is certified under a federal program that monitors mifepristone.
Certified pharmacies can mail the pill, but must use shipping services that provide tracking information, according to the FDA.
CVS and Walgreens they said they were is undergoing a certification process, but they will only dispense mifepristone where it is legal to do so under both state and federal law. At least 12 states have banned abortions, with few exceptions, and other states have stricter drug restrictions than the FDA requires.
Republican attorneys general have warned CVS and Walgreens against the shipment of mifepristone in their states.
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