ACLU Sues in Effort to Make Abortion Pill Mifeprex Available at Pharmacies

HONOLULU, Hawaii — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a family planning organization, a pharmacist group, a physicians academy and a Hawaii doctor in an effort to challenge FDA regulations and make the abortion pill Mifeprex available at pharmacies nationwide.

“[S]ome women prefer medication abortion because it feels more natural, and allows them to pass the pregnancy in the privacy and comfort of their home,” the organization wrote. “Mifeprex allows a woman to have an abortion in a private, comfortable, and safe location, on her own terms.”

The ACLU notes that the FDA requires that the pill be provided at a medical office or hospital under the supervision of a medical professional, and only under the terms that the physician has registered with the manufacturer of Mifeprex. Abortive mothers must also sign an agreement that she has received counseling on the risks associated with taking the drug.

The woman can then ingest the pill whenever and wherever she wishes, which will then cause cramping and bleeding, and ultimately the death of her unborn child, who will consequently be expelled from her body.

Mifeprex is used for first trimester abortions up until the first ten weeks of pregnancy, and has reportedly ended the lives of three million children since it was approved in 2000.

The ACLU contends that not allowing Mifeprex to be available at local pharmacies makes it “particularly acute for women who live in rural or medically underserved areas, have low income, are experiencing domestic abuse, and/or are young.”

Graham Chelius of Kauaʻi, one of the plaintiffs in the case, states that because there are no abortionists on his island, mothers must travel elsewhere to end their child’s life. He says that if the FDA regulations were lifted, he would be willing to write women a prescription in his office, thus making abortion more readily available.

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“The time, costs, logistics, and emotional strain involved in traveling to O’ahu for care are insurmountable for some of Dr. Chelius’s patients. Because of the [regulations], some women on Kauaʻi have been forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will,” the suit argues.

The ACLU is therefore seeking an injunction against the FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) on Mifeprex and a court order that the restrictions be removed.

“Lacking any medical basis, they do not improve women’s health. Rather, by delaying and blocking access to abortion care, they harm women’s health,” the group claimed in a blog post. “The restrictions thus violate both the due process protections of the U.S. Constitution and the statutory authority under which the FDA must operate.”

Hodge

As previously reported, in an introductory lecture to his course on obstetrics in 1854, Philadelphia Dr. Hugh Lennox Hodge explained that if a woman were to come to a medical doctor in pursuit of an abortion, “he must, as it were, grasp the conscience of his weak and erring patient and let her know in language not to be misunderstood that she is responsible to her Creator for the life of the being within her.”

“So low, gentleman, is the moral sense of community on this subject. So ignorant are even the greater number of individuals, that even mothers in many instances shrink not at the commission of this crime, but will voluntarily destroy their own progeny, in violation of every natural sentiment, and in opposition to the laws of God and man,” he said.

“The procuring abortion is ‘a base and unmanly act,’” Hodge also said, quoting in part text from a court ruling of his day. “It is a crime against the natural feelings of man, against the welfare and safety of females, against the peace and prosperity of society, against the divine command ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ It is murder.”


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