USA – What plaintiffs targeting abortion pill want might not even be possible

MARCH 25, 2023

At the center of the federal anti-abortion lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is the abortion drug mifepristone and the regimen that reportedly accounts for the majority of abortions in post-Roe America. That’s why the whole country is bracing itself for a ruling from a notoriously anti-abortion judge in Amarillo, Texas.

The attention and confusion around this case might end up being the most impactful aspects about it, as many legal scholars doubt the judge has the legal authority to do what plaintiffs are asking for, which boils down to forcing the FDA to essentially recall a drug that for two decades has maintained a record of efficacy and safety. But regardless of the lawsuit’s outcome, legal experts still think a ruling that even briefly or partially favors plaintiffs will likely have lasting consequences on U.S. abortion access and affect medication policy beyond abortion.


USA – The Plaintiffs Trying to Ban the Abortion Pill Admitted They Have No Case

MARCH 21, 2023

There are so many problems with the federal case in Texas challenging the approval of mifepristone, the first of two drugs given as part of a medication abortion. On the procedural side of things, just to name a few, the statute of limitations has long run out, the plaintiffs have not exhausted their administrative remedies, they haven’t identified a provision of law that has been violated, and their claimed injury makes no sense. On substance, again just to name a few, mifepristone is one of the safest drugs on the market, pregnancy is a medical condition for which the FDA can approve drugs, and the act on which the case relies has been basically a dead letter for a century. This case really is frivolous and should garner no real attention.

But, of course, we’re talking about this case repeatedly because of the real fear that the plaintiffs successfully hand-picked one of the few federal judges in the country who will ignore all this and rule in their favor. So, there is no such thing as giving this case too much scrutiny. And in that vein, it’s worth explaining how the release of the transcript from last Wednesday’s argument reveals yet another flaw with the case—lack of redressability—that should end the case immediately.


USA – The sole US supplier of a major abortion pill said it would not distribute the drug in 31 states

A list circulated in January by the distributor to Walgreens and CVS underscores the uncertainty surrounding abortion pills in the post-Roe era.

By Rachel M. Cohen
Updated Mar 17, 2023

Earlier this month, Politico broke news that Walgreens, the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain, assured 21 Republican attorneys general that it would not dispense abortion pills in their states should the company be approved to dispense them. The decision was met with sharp protest by Walgreens customers, abortion rights activists, and Democrats, who accused the pharmacy of caving needlessly to pressure.

But fear of state prosecution is not the only factor shaping Walgreens’ decision-making. Another previously unreported constraint on the company is that its sole supplier of Mifeprex — the brand-name drug for the abortion pill mifepristone first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000 — circulated a list to its corporate clients in January naming 31 states that it would not supply the abortion medication to. Vox spoke with two sources who had reviewed that list recently.


USA – The Abortion Pill Case Is About Who Makes the Rules in America

MARCH 15, 2023

Right now, the country is waiting on one judge in Texas to make a ruling. The ruling is supposed to determine whether access to a drug that, as part of a two-step process, causes an abortion will be curtailed. At least, ostensibly, that is what the ruling is about—whether the Food and Drug Administration was wrong to approve this drug when it did so 22 years ago. This ruling will certainly have serious, dramatic effects on access, and therefore on real women’s lived lives. ….

But this case is not really about whether mifepristone remains accessible, and FDA-approved. What this case is actually about is the same thing every abortion battle over the past five decades has been about: Who has power in America?


Trump-appointed judge limits information on medication abortion lawsuit

The suit could determine whether US women can access abortion drugs, but judge is trying to limit disruptions and protests

Edward Helmore in New York
Mon 13 Mar 2023

A judge in Texas overseeing a lawsuit in which a conservative group is challenging the legality of the abortion drug mifepristone scheduled the first hearing in the case for Wednesday, but directed that court officials not make the timing public until the evening before.

According to sources cited by the Washington Post, Matthew Kacsmaryk, a US district court judge in Amarillo appointed by Donald Trump in 2019, ordered the hearing kept out of the court docket as a way to try to limit disruptions and protests, and also asked that lawyers arguing the case do not disclose information.


The Latest Attack on the Abortion Pill Is Forty Years in the Making

If a Texas lawsuit prevails, mifepristone will no longer be available anywhere in the nation, even in states where abortion is legal.

By Sue Halpern, The New Yorker
March 9, 2023

In 1987, Ms. magazine asked me to write about RU-486, a new medication that caused the uterus to expel a fertilized egg before it could gestate. It wasn’t a contraceptive, but it wasn’t what most people considered an abortion, either. At the time, anti-abortion campaigners were brandishing ultrasound images that purported to show fetuses crying out in pain as they were being surgically removed. RU-486, which was developed in France but not yet available in the United States, threatened to stymie this tactic: there would be no fetal development to flaunt. Even the president of the National Right to Life Committee acknowledged that there was little P.R. value in images of what appeared to be menstruating women. This disarming of the pro-life movement, and the drug’s seemingly benign effect, I wrote, “may serve to decimate the ranks of abortion foes.” Étienne-Émile Baulieu, the primary developer of RU-486, which is better known as mifepristone, was even more hopeful. With this drug, he declared, abortion “should more or less disappear as a concept, as a fact, as a word in the future.”


Billboards advise on how to get abortion pills in US states where procedure is banned

Mobile billboards on how to get access to pills by mail are being driven through college campuses in 14 states

Ed Pilkington in New York
Fri 3 Mar 2023

Women living under abortion bans in the US are being offered advice on how to get access to abortion pills by mail, through a system of mobile billboards which are being driven through college campuses in 14 states carrying the prohibition.

The billboards are the creation of Mayday.Health, a non-profit set up in the wake of the US supreme court’s ruling last June that overturned the constitutional right to an abortion. The posters carry QR codes that link to online information providing a step-by-step guide on how to obtain the abortion pill even in states which have banned it.


Actually, One Texas Judge Is Not the Final Decision-Maker on Medication Abortion

One district judge’s ruling does not have to affect the entire country.

FEB 28, 2023

All eyes in the fight over reproductive rights and justice have been focused on a federal judge in Amarillo, Texas. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk will soon decide a case involving the first drug in a medication abortion, mifepristone. Though the case makes wholly unpersuasive arguments, undermined by the facts and the evidence, plaintiffs filed in this specific court because Kacsmaryk is one of the most conservative judges on the federal bench and has an explicit and documented animus toward abortion. The expectation is that he will do everything in his power to end medication abortion as we know it. Because states like Texas have already banned abortion (including medication abortion), the deep fear is that his ruling could affect abortion care even in states where it remains legal.

But we would like to offer some clarification here. Because despite the barrage of predictions that this case could ban mifepristone and take it off the market, there are several basic legal principles suggesting that Judge Kacsmaryk’s power is limited and that a ruling for the plaintiffs will not necessarily change much at all with medication abortion.


Washington state attorney general says FDA rules on abortion drug are unreasonable

February 25, 2023
8-Minute Listen with Transcript

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson says he is suing the Food and Drug Administration because the restrictions on the abortion drug mifepristone are "entirely unreasonable and not medically necessary."

Ferguson, who spoke with NPR's All Things Considered on Saturday, is one of a dozen Democratic attorneys general who filed a lawsuit accusing the federal agency of excessively regulating the drug.


Mifepristone: 12 US states sue to expand access to abortion pill

Feb 24, 2023
By Sam Cabral, BBC News, Washington

A group of 12 Democratic-led US states has argued that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is hampering access to a popular abortion pill. Mifepristone, part of a two-drug regimen that induces abortions, was approved in the year 2000, with restrictions to assure its safe use.
In a lawsuit filed on Thursday, the states claimed the limits on the drug are not supported by evidence.