Blue states are stockpiling abortion pills in case the drugs become unavailable due to an unfolding legal fight over one version, mifepristone.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week said the state secured an emergency stockpile of up to 2 million pills of misoprostol, a drug used as part of a two-drug protocol with mifepristone.
He said it was important to have at least one abortion-inducing drug while the Biden administration appeals a ruling out of Texas that said the approval of mifepristone was unlawful.
“We will not cave to extremists who are trying to outlaw these critical abortion services. Medication abortion remains legal in California,” Mr. Newsom said.
U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk in Texas sided with pro-life groups in declaring the FDA’s approval process of mifepristone drug was unlawful. Opponents of the drug, which was approved two decades ago, say regulators overlooked potential harm to women, while top drugmakers slammed the ruling as a grave threat to the scientific drug-approval process.
The Texas decision conflicted with a ruling from a court in Washington state on the same issue, leading to confusion. The Justice Department is seeking a stay of the Texas decision before it goes into effect later this week.
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Experts say it is unclear whether mifepristone will be yanked from the market if the Texas ruling goes into effect. The Food and Drug Administration could, for instance, say it has enforcement discretion and not go after pharmacists who dole out the drug.
Democratic state leaders aren’t taking any chances.
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey said the University of Massachusetts and health providers are stockpiling at least 15,000 doses of mifepristone as the case winds its way through the courts.
“Here in Massachusetts, we are not going to let one extremist judge in Texas turn back the clock on this proven medication and restrict access to care in our state,” Ms. Healey said. “The action we are taking today protects access to mifepristone in Massachusetts and protects patients and providers from liability.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, last week said he had ordered the state corrections department to use its pharmacy license to buy 30,000 doses of mifepristone, a three-year supply. The pills arrived on March 31.