House Democrats Move To Reaffirm FDA Authority On Abortion Pill Access

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House Democrats introduced a resolution to reaffirm the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to preempt state law and ensure patients continue accessing reproductive health care products.

The resolution from Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) reaffirm the FDA’s authority to prevent states from enacting regulations that limit or prohibit patients from accessing reproductive health products approved by the agency, including abortion pills delivered directly to patients.

It also emphasizes the authority of the U.S. Attorney General to take action against any state that enacts a law that prohibits or limits a patient’s ability to access or use such products.

In 2000, the FDA approved mifepristone for medication abortion. The drug is combined with a second misoprostol pill during the first ten weeks of pregnancy. In 2020, medication abortion accounted for 54 percent of all pregnancy terminations in the U.S.

Attorney General Merrick Garland stated in June indicated the Justice Department would take action against states that ban abortion pills, though it’s unclear if the federal government has that authority.

So far, more than a dozen states have enacted new laws to limit or outright ban patients’ access to reproductive care in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The FDA temporarily lifted a requirement that mifepristone be dispensed in person at a clinic or hospital because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden administration made the change permanent in December 2021, paving the way for doctors to prescribe the drug digitally and then mail the pills to patients.

The resolution is endorsed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Women’s Law Center, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and other national organizations, and 28 other House members sponsored it.