Raul Labrador, the Idaho attorney general, joined 21 other attorneys general last week in filing an amicus brief for Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a lawsuit in a Texas district court pushing for the removal of the abortion pill mifepristone after more than two decades of use.
The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000. The prescription medication was originally approved for up to seven weeks into a pregnancy but is now approved for up to 10. Mifepristone is used in conjunction with Misoprostol to end a pregnancy early.
According to Planned Parenthood, Mifepristone works by blocking the hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, the lining of the uterus breaks down and the pregnancy cannot continue.
Planned Parenthood says misoprostol is taken either right away or up to 48 hours later and causes the uterus to empty. It’s like having a heavy, crampy period and is very similar to an early miscarriage.
Brief argues federal overreach
The brief filed by the attorneys general centered on the argument that the actions taken by the FDA in regard to the abortion pill, such as allowing Mifepristone to be mail-ordered, go against the public interest.
“This is a brazen federal power grab that endangers women’s health and violates federal and state laws,” said Idaho’s office of the attorney general. “In Idaho, we protect women and the unborn, and this federal overreach is unacceptable.”
Many States have enacted laws to regulate abortion-inducing drugs, citing the risks they possess. Authors of the brief argue that the government has not regulated these drugs, choosing instead to expand access to them, claiming that federal officers knew the risks.
“While the FDA is authorized to evaluate new drugs for safety and effectiveness, States are primarily responsible for protecting the health and welfare of their citizens,” the brief said.
Several attorneys general saw an injunction, a judicial order that restrains a person from beginning or continuing an action, as a justified course of action in the lawsuit.
Justice department response
The Department of Justice also filed an amicus brief for this case, leaning in favor of the FDA. Their file questioned the claims brought up in the lawsuit and the brief presented by the attorneys general.
“Plaintiffs have pointed to no case, and the government has been unable to locate any example, where a court has second-guessed FDA’s safety and efficacy determination and ordered a widely available FDA-approved drug to be removed from the market — much less an example that includes a two-decade delay,” wrote attorneys for the U.S. Justice Department.