US Attorney General Merrick Garland says states cannot ban FDA-approved abortion drug

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the U.S. Department of Justice “will work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom” after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down constitutional protections for human rights. abortion, canceling 50 years of abortion rights.

A June 24 statement from his office warned states they could not ban the abortion drug mifepristone, as Republican lawmakers introduced dozens of proposals restricting the availability of prescription drugs approved for terminating a pregnancy.

Medical abortion is by far the most common form of abortion care in the United States, accounting for nearly 60% of all procedures. The drug was approved for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration in most cases through 10 weeks of pregnancy in 2000. A two-drug regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol – drugs available without a prescription in some countries – is extremely safe and effective.

Last year, the FDA permanently lifted the in-person requirement for medical abortion prescriptions, allowing patients to access medications through telehealth appointments and online pharmacies so patients can take the medicines at home.

Garland said the Justice Department is “ready to work with other branches of the federal government that seek to use their legitimate powers to protect and preserve access to reproductive care.”

“In particular, the FDA has approved the use of the drug mifepristone,” he said. “States cannot ban mifepristone due to disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment on its safety and efficacy.”

In recent months, Republican lawmakers across the United States have introduced more than 100 bills to restrict the availability and distribution of abortion drugs, or ban them altogether, drawing a new line in the GOP war. against the right to abortion, while the end of deer protections shifts the battle to state legislatures and courts.

Nineteen states require a clinician performing medical abortion to be physically present when the drugs are administered, thus prohibiting telemedicine appointments to prescribe the drug.

The drugs are also commonly used to treat miscarriages, which occur in about one in 10 pregnancies. Mifepristone and misoprostol are the only drugs recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for treating early pregnancy loss.

Lawyers and doctors have warned that restrictions on access to drugs could have dangerous health consequences for women seeking care.

Garland said the Justice Department will work to provide support for providers and people seeking abortions in states that will continue to allow them.

He also said that federal agencies “may continue to provide reproductive health services to the extent authorized by federal law,” adding that “federal employees performing their duties of providing such services must be authorized to do so without risk of liability”.

The Supreme Court ruling “deals a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States,” he said. “This will have an immediate and irreversible impact on the lives of people across the country. And it will be vastly disproportionate in its effects – with the greatest burdens felt by people of color and those with limited financial means. »

The Justice Department “will use every tool at its disposal to protect reproductive freedom,” he said. “And we will not abandon this department’s founding responsibility to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”

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