“U.S. Repro Watch” provides periodic updates on news of interest on U.S. reproductive rights. Here are three recent items you won’t want to miss:
1. Texas filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration seeking to prevent it from asking pharmacies to fill reproductive health prescriptions.
- The lawsuit targets guidance issued by the Biden Administration in July that pharmacies risk violating federal antidiscrimination law if they refuse to fill prescriptions for essential medication because of their effect on pregnancy.
- Some pharmacies have expressed fear that they could be prosecuted in states with abortion bans for filling prescriptions for drugs that can also be used to terminate a pregnancy. One such drug is methotrexate, which is used to treat a range of chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and is also a common treatment for ectopic pregnancies.
- Last year, Texas similarly sued the federal government over guidance requiring hospitals to provide abortion care to patients facing medical emergencies.
2. State lawmakers are continuing efforts to restrict abortion access. . .
- Idaho lawmakers introduced a bill that would make it harder for young people to access abortion care out of state.
- Despite the South Carolina Supreme Court’s recent ruling striking down a six-week abortion ban as unconstitutional, the South Carolina Senate passed another six-week abortion ban. A state House committee also approved a proposal for a total ban.
. . . and protect it.
- Minnesota lawmakers advanced legislation that would protect abortion providers and patients from legal actions by other states.
- Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced his support for several bills protecting abortion access, including a constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion rights introduced this week.
- The resolutions introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate attacked a rule issued in September by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to make abortion services available in certain cases to veterans, including in states where abortion is banned.
February 24 (new date): Briefing due in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA, a lawsuit that could end access to abortion medication nationwide.
- In this case brought by anti-abortion groups seeking to have abortion medication removed from the market, the judge issued an order extending the briefing deadline to February 24—after which the court could issue its decision.
Did you know?
Research shows that mifepristone—one of two drugs used in medication abortion—is safe, effective, and used around the world. In Canada, data reaffirmed that mifepristone can safely be prescribed and dispensed like any other drug. A study from the United Kingdom found that wait times for care dropped with no difference in safety outcomes when medication abortion was provided via telemedicine.
However, access to mifepristone is under threat in the U.S. Without the FDA-approved medication, millions could be left without access to abortion care. In Maine alone, where the right to abortion is protected under state law, the share of counties with an abortion provider could drop from 88% to as low as 19% without mifepristone available.