Missouri, Idaho and Kansas suing FDA for its rules on abortion-inducing pills

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(The Center Square) – Missouri, Idaho and Kansas filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requesting a rollback of rules on mifepristone, an abortion-inducing drug.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Appeals in northern Texas last week, asks the court to reinstate 2016 FDA regulations. The agency approved mifepristone in 2000.

The suit also seeks to reverse the FDA’s approval of generic mifepristone in 2019. It requests regulations from 2021 and this year allowing the drugs to be sent through the mail be rescinded and an in-person dispensing requirement be restored.

Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is leading the lawsuit, which is joined by attorneys general in Idaho and Kansas.

The 105-page complaint begins with a charge the FDA exceeded its regulatory authority when President Bill Clinton in 1993 started the process to legalize drugs to induce abortion.

“The only way for the FDA to approve a chemical abortion drug was for FDA to use its accelerated drug approval authority,” the complaint states. “This required that the FDA call pregnancy an ‘illness’ and argue that these dangerous chemical abortion drugs provide a ‘meaningful therapeutic benefit’ over existing treatments. Pregnancy is not an illness and chemical abortion drugs do not provide a ‘therapeutic benefit’ over surgical abortion.”

In February, Bailey and 19 other attorneys general warned Walgreens and CVS pharmacies the mailing of the pills was illegal and unsafe. Weeks later, Bailey filed an amicus brief in a case filed in Texas by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine against the FDA challenging the Department of Justice’s ruling the U.S. Postal Service wouldn’t be violating laws by allowing companies to mail the pills.

Bailey requested that the lawsuit by Missouri, Idaho and Kansas be combined with the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine’s lawsuit.

“The FDA has failed in this responsibility,” the lawsuit states, referring to its statutory responsibility to protect the health and welfare of all Americans. “Specifically, it failed America’s women and girls when it chose politics over science and approved risky, untested chemical abortion drugs for use in the United States. And it has continued to fail them by turning a blind eye to these harms and repeatedly removing even the most basic precautionary requirements associated with the use of these risky drugs.”

The lawsuit reviews how the FDA rejected citizen petitions to revoke approval of the drugs 14 years after they were filed. The agency also changed the drug regimen in 2016 and the suit states the FDA eliminated “crucial safeguards for pregnant women and girls.”

“Numerous studies show that there are increased risks from chemical abortion drugs to pregnant women and girls as the baby’s age advances from seven weeks to ten weeks, due in part to significant growth of the placenta and the baby during that period,” the lawsuit states.

In addition to arguments regarding harm, the lawsuit states regulations on mailing the drugs assist “sex traffickers and sexual abusers to force their victims to get abortions without authorities able to identify these victims.”

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