A group of 22 attorneys general sent a letter to Federal Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf asking the agency to reverse its decision to certify retail pharmacies to dispense abortion pills.
The Friday letter, led by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, argued that the distribution of abortion-inducing drugs poses a danger to women’s health.
“The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to abandon commonsense restrictions on remotely prescribing and administering abortion-inducing drugs is both illegal and dangerous,” the letter read. “In direct contravention of longstanding FDA practice and congressional mandate, the FDA’s rollback of important safety restrictions ignores both women’s health and straightforward federal statutes. We urge you to reverse your decision.”
The letter’s signers also argued that the FDA’s decision would not stop them from enforcing state laws against administering abortion pills.
“Though the FDA has abdicated its responsibility to protect women’s health, we have not. To be crystal clear, you have not negated any of our laws that forbid the remote prescription, administration, and use of abortion-inducing drugs,” the attorneys general wrote.
In addition to Alabama, the other states represented in the letter included Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Last week, The Daily Wire reported on Marshall’s comments that women could be prosecuted for taking abortion pills in Alabama. Marshall made the remarks despite the state’s Human Life Protection Act which criminalizes abortion providers and prevents prosecution against women who have abortions.
“The Human Life Protection Act targets abortion providers, exempting women ‘upon whom an abortion is performed or attempted to be performed’ from liability under the law,” Marshall said in a statement to AL.com. “It does not provide an across-the-board exemption from all criminal laws, including the chemical-endangerment law—which the Alabama Supreme Court has affirmed and reaffirmed protects unborn children.”
The reactions from Marshall and other state leaders came after a recent update by the FDA stating that major pharmacy chains would be allowed to provide two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, prescribed for medical abortions. CVS and Walgreens, the nation’s two largest pharmacy franchises, have since noted plans to participate in the new program from the FDA.
The change from the FDA will encounter problems in at least 18 states that require a medical professional providing a medication abortion to be physically present when the drug is administered. The laws effectively prohibit telemedicine from prescribing medication for abortion.
The medications used to induce abortions, Mifeprex and its generic Mifepristone Tablets, are approved by the FDA for up to 10 weeks gestation, as a woman’s health risk reportedly increases after that time.
“Though there are risks to a woman of using these drugs at any point in pregnancy, abortion-inducing drugs are riskiest when used later in pregnancy. This means that accurately determining the date of pregnancy is critical for women’s safety,” Marhsall’s letter from the attorneys general stated.