Alabama AG Steve Marshall leads coalition of 22 state attorneys general in condemning the FDA’s “Illegal and Dangerous” decision to abandon restrictions on Abortion-Inducing Drugs

By Dave Andrusko

Last Friday Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall led a coalition of 22 state attorneys general who sent a letter to Robert Califf, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, condemning the FDA’s recent decision to abandon its longstanding restrictions which make s it easier to obtain misoprostol and mifepristone.

 “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 attorneys general wrote. “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 “follows the Jan. 3 finalization of a change that broadened the availability of abortion pills to pharmacies,” Mary Colurso wrote. “The change allows brick-and-mortar and mail-order pharmacies to dispense mifepristone and misoprostol, two drugs used in more than half of abortions in the United States.”

The FDA’s revised Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS)for mifepristone [the generic names for Mifeprex] “would require that the drug only be dispensed by pharmacies that have completed certification and only those pharmacies, once certified, could dispense the drug prescribed by certified prescribers who have pledged to follow FDA guidelines regarding the screening and counseling of patients to ensure they know the risks and dangers,” National Right to Life wrote.

According to the news release that accompanying the request of the 22 state attorney general

The letter details the serious risks associated with abortion-inducing drugs, which both state and federal laws and policies—including, until now, those of the FDA itself—have long recognized by imposing restrictions on their prescription and administration. But, in the wake of the Dobbs decision, “the FDA announced a wholesale change to [its policy aimed at mitigating the dangers of such drugs].” The FDA’s new policy is denounced by the attorneys general in no uncertain terms for “prioritizing . . . pro-abortion policy over women’s health,” which recklessly “endanger[s] the lives of women” in addition to “enthusiastically endanger[ing] the lives of unborn children.”

The Attorneys General letter concludes

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 health and safety of our citizens—women and children included—is of paramount concern. Nothing in the FDA’s recent changes affects how we will protect our people.”

Before the change, “people using medication for abortions had to pick it up at specialty clinics,” Colurso wrote. “Officials at the U.S. Department of Justice issued an opinion that carriers with the U.S. Postal Service could deliver pills in states that banned abortion. The new rules will expand access through telehealth and mail-order pharmacies but could set up clashes with anti-abortion states such as Alabama.”