The Pulse

Berger, Moore seek to defend state’s abortion pill laws in federal court

By: - February 27, 2023 9:00 am
Birth control abortion drug, morning after pill

Republican legislators want to defend state laws in a federal suit that challenges the legality of North Carolina’s restrictions on prescribing the abortion pill. This comes after the Attorney General’s office said the objection to state restrictions the lawsuit raises is on point.

To recap, an Ob/Gyn who practices in Orange County sued the state, the NC Medical Board and others over the hurdles patients must navigate before they can take mifepristone.

State law says only doctors can prescribe it, and as in surgical abortions people must wait 72 hours after receiving counseling before they can take the pill. Patients must take the pill in the presence of a doctor. Telehealth appointments are prohibited.

The FDA approved the drug for use through the 10th week of pregnancy, allows telehealth appointments, and allows some pharmacies to dispense it.

Dr. Amy Bryant filed a lawsuit in federal court in late January, saying that the FDA rejected the restrictions North Carolina put into place. North Carolina’s restrictions impose “significant cost and burdens” on Bryant and her patients, the lawsuit says.

Bryant’s lawsuit is one of several being heard in federal courts around the country.

A federal judge in Texas with anti-abortion views is set to rule in a lawsuit brought by anti-abortion activists that seeks to revoke FDA approval of mifepristone. Attorneys general from Republican states are backing that suit.

Last week, a group of attorneys general from Democratic states sued the FDA, saying the agency imposes unnecessary restrictions on mifepristone.

A pharmaceutical company sued West Virginia over that state’s restrictions on the abortion pill.

The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000. Abortion pills now account for more than half of the country’s abortions.

In a letter to Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore’s offices a few weeks ago, Stein’s office said it agreed with the lawsuit’s contention that states cannot impose restrictions more stringent than the FDA’s and that its filings in the case would reflect that analysis.

In their motion to intervene in the suit, Berger and Moore said they should be allowed to defend state laws since Stein will not.


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Lynn Bonner
Lynn Bonner

Investigative Reporter Lynn Bonner covers the state legislature and politics, as well as elections, the state budget, public and mental health, safety net programs and issues of racial equality.