Judge Issues Ruling in Abortion Drug Case

Judge Issues Ruling in Abortion Drug Case

(RepublicanView.org) – A federal judge has ruled that North Carolina residents can use at-home abortion drugs. Obama appointee Judge Catherine Eagles determined that state restrictions on access to such drugs conflicted with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority.

Plaintiff Amy Bryant, a doctor, said Eagles’ decision will allow “increased access to abortion care throughout North Carolina.” She added that state lawmakers do not have the power to override the FDA’s authority and impose “medically unnecessary restrictions.”

Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein also praised the ruling, saying it helps women regain control over their medical decisions.

Nevertheless, a Supreme Court ruling on mifepristone could impact Judge Eagles’ decision. The Court is deliberating on a question of the FDA’s authority. In 2016, the agency made mifepristone more accessible, and anti-abortion groups argue it does not have the right to do so. They want federal regulations pushed back to pre-2016 levels.

Last year, mifepristone and similar drugs accounted for 63% of abortions in the United States, an increase from around 50% in 2020, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Experts attribute the rise to access expansion facilitated by the FDA, particularly allowing it to be sent through the mail. The Supreme Court will now determine if the FDA acted lawfully in making that decision, as well as decisions to reduce doctor visits from three to one and increase the gestational period from seven weeks to ten.

Mary Ziegler, a historian at the University of California, says the Court’s ruling is “uniquely important,” given the political environment and the prohibition on abortion in several states.

In North Carolina, however, Judge Eagles’ new ruling means patients can obtain abortion medications in pharmacies and have it prescribed by medical professionals other than doctors. She upheld some restrictions, including the requirement to undergo a medical consultation and examination, as well as an ultrasound, 72 hours before taking the pills.

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