Nearly two dozen state attorneys general are fighting the Biden administration’s move to ease restrictions on abortion drugs. In signing the letter calling the actions of the Food and Drug Administration “illegal” and “dangerous,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton explains the drugs themselves are too dangerous.
After Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, abortion restrictions have fallen into place across the nation. This has led to state governments and federal agencies working to relieve those restrictions under the guise of “women’s rights.”
Last month, federal government agencies—including the FDA—have begun seeking to expand access to abortion.
“Previously, the FDA had imposed restrictions on certain abortion-inducing drugs, including mifepristone,” explained the statement from Paxton’s office. “Under those rules, the letter notes, mifepristone ‘could only be prescribed by a qualified physician and administered in a hospital, clinic, or medical office and only by or under the supervision of such a physician.’ This was due to the dangerous nature of the drug.”
Despite the “dangerous nature of the drug,” the FDA announced that women would now be able to get abortion drugs from pharmacies as “over the counter” medication. The FDA also decided mail-order companies would be allowed to continue to transport and deliver abortion drugs regardless of approval by a medical practitioner or healthcare provider.
The official statement from Paxton’s office continued:
The FDA dispensed with these safety requirements to allow the drug to be taken without the guidance or supervision of a medical professional. In doing so, the FDA abandoned its traditional mission to protect the American public in order to facilitate a pro-abortion agenda. Its new policy also conflicts with federal law, which bans the Post Office from delivering abortion-related drugs.
As a result of the FDA’s “decision to abandon commonsense,” nearly two dozen state attorneys general—headed by Alabama AG Steve Marshall—signed a letter urging the agency to “reverse [their] decision.”
“By permitting and promoting the remote use of abortion drugs, you are endangering the lives of women,” the letter explained. The careless use of abortion drugs can result in serious medical issues for both women and unborn children. “In our states, we prioritize the health and safety of women and children and our laws reflect this.”
The letter also briefs the illegality of the FDA’s recent move:
Aside from ignoring the health of women and the lives of unborn children, your decision ignores the plain text of federal law. Federal law has long provided that: ‘Every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion … [i]s declared to be nonmailable matter and shall not be conveyed in the mails or delivered from any post office or by any letter carrier.’ 18 U.S.C. § 1461.
The letter says that what the FDA has decided is a violation of the statute and is a felony that carries five years’ imprisonment. And yet, the letter points out that the FDA is “now encourage[ing] physicians to facilitate remote abortions and pharmacies to order and provide abortion drugs.”
While the FDA’s actions seemingly do not directly affect Texas, they affect all states on a national level and indirectly affect the state of Texas. Therefore, Paxton felt it necessary to join the group effort in trying to fix the FDA’s failure.
The statement from Paxton’s office notes that because the FDA has failed to protect women and children, their “dereliction of duty will not prevent” Paxton and his “allied attorneys general from protecting their citizens’ health.”
Chelsey Youman, Human Coalition Action’s national legislative advisor, told Texas Scorecard that HCA applauds Attorney General Paxton and his peers for their “strong defense of life, health, and the rule of law.”
“States have the duty to protect all human life—especially the most vulnerable, which include children in the womb,” said Youman.
“The abortion pill takes the life of an innocent child,” Youman continued. “It’s unconscionable that the federal government radically and negligently expands abortion pill distribution to every neighborhood pharmacy and through the mail. Furthermore, the pill regimen poses dangers to the health of women, resulting in an even greater rate of post-abortive ER visits than after surgical abortions. These attorneys general rightly call out the FDA’s grotesque promotion of the abortion pill.”
Texas Right to Life Legislative Director Rebecca Parma also voiced support for Paxton’s move, saying this is another example of Paxton consistently fighting to protect Texas’ pro-life laws.
Parma said the FDA’s “radical changes” to their policies surrounding abortion-inducing drugs endangers both children and pregnant mothers. Thankfully, Parma explained, these changes do not impact Texas because of “strong life-saving laws.”
“Our laws are clear that pharmacies do not have jurisdiction to dispense abortion pills,” said Parma, “and that all preborn children are protected from elective abortion from the moment of fertilization. We’re thankful the attorney general emphasized this inability of the FDA to preempt our state laws by signing onto the multistate letter.”
“Though the FDA has abdicated its responsibility to protect women’s health, we have not,” the Attorneys General group letter concludes. “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.”