Oregon Secures 3-Year Supply of Abortion Pills

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
April 21, 2023Judiciary
Oregon Secures 3-Year Supply of Abortion Pills
Packages of Mifepristone tablets are displayed at an abortion clinic in Rockville, Md., on April 13, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek said Thursday she has directed the state to obtain a supply of the most commonly used abortion medication in the U.S. amid fears that a Supreme Court ruling could restrict access to it.

The Democratic governor said regardless of the court’s decision about mifepristone’s availability, patients in Oregon will have access to it for years.

“I will make sure that patients are able to access the medication they need and providers are able to provide that medication without unnecessary, politically-motivated interference and intimidation,” Kotek said in a statement.

Kotek’s office told The Associated Press that the state has partnered with Oregon Health & Science University to obtain 22,500 doses of mifepristone.

Other states, namely Washington, California, New York, and Massachusetts, have been buying bulk amounts of the contested abortion pill in recent weeks.

Last Friday, the governor’s office of Maryland announced that they had decided to do the same. New Jersey’s governor said he’s considering doing the same.

A lawsuit over mifepristone was filed in Texas last year by the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), representing anti-abortion doctors and medical groups. The ADF claimed the FDA had violated its statutory duty during its procedure to approve the drug.

Plaintiffs had also argued that the FDA lacks the legal authority to clear an abortion drug.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, a federal judge in Texas, ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to temporarily halt its approval of mifepristone, in effect taking the drug legally off the market nationwide.

Kacsmaryk agreed that the FDA had ignored risks in approving the drug and based itself “on plainly unsound reasoning and studies that did not support its conclusions.”

“There is also evidence indicating FDA faced significant political pressure to forego its proposed safety precautions to better advance the political objective of increased ‘access’ to chemical abortion,” the court ruling read.

Three days later, on April 10, the Biden administration issued an emergency motion asking a U.S. appeals court to freeze Kacsmaryk’s court order, arguing that making mifepristone unavailable would “severely harm women.”

The Supreme Court had temporarily put Kacsmaryk’s order on hold until Friday, when it ruled that the abortion pill will be broadly accessible amid the ongoing legal battle over its FDA approval.

The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000 and has since allowed it to be dispensed by mail. According to the Justice Department, it has been used by more than 5 million women to end their pregnancies.

The ADF filed the lawsuit after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the famous 1973 precedent that largely legalized abortion in the United States.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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