NEWS: Lawsuit challenges state bans on abortion pills

| Jan 26, 2023

New Lawsuit Challenges State Bans on Abortion Pills

The New York Times, January 25, 2023

A company that makes an abortion pill filed a lawsuit Wednesday morning challenging the constitutionality of a state ban on the medication, one in what is expected to be a wave of cases arguing that the federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the pill takes precedence over such restrictive state laws. The case was filed in federal court in West Virginia by GenBioPro, one of two American manufacturers of mifepristone, the first pill used in the two-drug medication abortion regimen. A ruling in favor of the company could compel other states that have banned abortion to allow the pills to be prescribed, dispensed and sold, according to legal experts. If the courts reject the company’s arguments, some legal scholars say the decision could open the door for states to ban or restrict other approved drugs, such as Covid vaccines or morning-after pills. The case is one of a number of lawsuits testing legal arguments in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling last June overturning the federal right to abortion. Also on Wednesday, an obstetrician-gynecologist sued officials in North Carolina, which still allows abortion, challenging the state’s requirements for using mifepristone because they go beyond F.D.A. regulations on the drug. In November, abortion opponents filed a lawsuit challenging the F.D.A.’s approval of mifepristone nearly 23 years ago and asked that the courts order the agency to stop allowing the use of the drug and the second drug, misoprostol, for abortion.

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Justice Department to Monitor New Anti-Abortion Bills in State Legislatures

CNN, January 23, 2023

Upcoming state-level pushes to further restrict abortion access will be on the radar of the US Justice Department, top DOJ officials said Monday as they touted the work the Biden administration has sought to do to shore up abortion access in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade reversal last year. “We’ve obviously been very active in monitoring what’s happening in the states and locally, and given that most state legislatures now are coming back into session, we’ll be continuing to do so and looking at any laws that may get passed that infringe on federal protections,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, who leads a department task force on reproductive rights that was launched after the Supreme Court’s decision. She was joined by Attorney General Merrick Garland to speak briefly to reporters at the top of a task force meeting, timed to the 50th anniversary of the Roe decision, which protected abortion rights nationwide before the ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court in June.

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Kamala Harris, in Florida, Takes Aim at Abortion Restrictions as Attacking ‘the Very Foundations of Freedom’

The 19th, January 22, 2023

Vice President Kamala Harris tied the fight for legal abortion to fundamental freedoms, charging supporters to “resolve to make history” in a speech Sunday marking the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Harris’ remarks reflected how dramatically the landscape for abortion access and the politics surrounding it have changed since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade seven months ago. Her choice to speak in Florida — which is poised to further restrict abortion access this year — indicated a recognition on the part of the White House that abortion rights are now being decided not in Washington but in state capitals like Tallahassee. “America is a promise — a promise we must all make real in every statehouse, in every doctor’s office, and yes, in every election,” she said. “So to all the friends and leaders, I say, let us not be tired or discouraged, because we’re on the right side together in the fight to protect the freedom and liberty of all people, of all women everywhere.”

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California Enacts New Abortion Laws, Expecting Copycats

Politico, January 25, 2023

Nurses at the low-slung maze-like student health complex at the University of California, Santa Barbara work year-round to make sure the shelves of their in-house pharmacy remain stocked with antivirals, painkillers and antibiotics for the tens of thousands of students they serve. This month, they were required to have two more drugs on hand: mifepristone and misoprostol — the regimen that induces an abortion. The first-in-the-nation mandate for student health centers to carry abortion pills is just one of more than a dozen new California policies that aim to make the state the nation’s leading haven for abortion rights. Now, Democrats are holding up California as a model as New York, Washington, Illinois and other blue states prepare to enact similar policies in 2023. “People look to California for leadership, and in these dark moments, we want to be a bright light,” Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta, who is already defending some of the new abortion-rights laws from legal challenges, said in an interview. “We made a menu of options that’s now publicly available for anyone. These laws are ready to be duplicated and replicated.”

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Birth Justice Advocates Find New Challenges —and Opportunities— Post-‘Roe’

Rewire News Group, January 23, 2023

In the months since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, pregnant people with ectopic pregnancies and fetal abnormalities have had to wait until they are essentially at death’s door to receive treatment—usually via abortion care—because hospitals fear state abortion bans. This denial of care exacerbates existing inequities surrounding childbirth. Before Roe’s downfall, the United States had the highest rate of maternal mortality compared to other high-income countries. Because of systemic racism, lack of access to prenatal and postpartum health care, maternity care deserts, and weathering, Black, Asian, and Indigenous women and birthing people face higher rates of maternal mortality than their white counterparts. In response to the Black maternal health crisis and other instances of birth injustice, primarily Black mothers, parents, activists, and maternity care practitioners birthed a movement in the late 2000s and early 2010s. The birth justice movement works to create a world where women and trans people control “when, where, how, and with whom to birth” and are free from medical abuse and reproductive oppression. The movement includes efforts to increase access to and affordability of doulas and midwives, legalize home births, create birthing centers, and end obstetric violence. Achieving birth justice is more crucial now than ever: Recent research shows that in 2020, maternal mortality rates were 62 percent higher in states that heavily impeded abortion access than in states with fewer restrictions. Unfortunately, the rate of birthing deaths in abortion-hostile states will increase now that Roe has been overturned, which underscores the interconnectedness of abortion and birth justice.

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