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Texas Lawsuit Against the FDA Threatens Access to Abortion Pills



HOST, TRICIA STORTZ

You’re listening to Uptown Radio, I’m Tricia Stortz.


This week, an anti-abortion group in Texas filed a lawsuit against the FDA that may limit access to abortion pills across the country. Julie Blake is a member of the group filing the lawsuit, the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. She says the abortion pill needs to be reassessed for safety.


JULIE BLAKE

We’re asking the court to order the FDA to remove these drugs from the market, or at a minimum to restore important safeguards on their use.


STORTZ

Here in New York, the people who run abortion clinics are worried about the implications of the lawsuit. Merle Hoffman, the CEO of Choices Medical Center, a clinic in Queens, explains what she's up against.


MERLE HOFFMAN

Well, they really want to ban Mifepristone, which is one part of the two-part regime for the abortion pill. Okay, so you have Mifepristone and Misoprostol. And, we've been using this for over 20 years and it's getting about 95% effective. And, it's really been utilized as a fallback after Roe fell.


And, 51 or 52% of women now in the first trimester are using abortion pills. So of course the opposition…the anti-choice fascist opposition… seemingly one step ahead has found a way to take away that procedure.


And, the plaintiff now is saying, well, we want to override the FDA's approval of Mifepristone, which has been heavily based on scientific studies and usage for over 20 years.


STORTZ So the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine filing the lawsuit is saying there are safety concerns with the pill. What's wrong with occasionally reassessing medications like this?


HOFFMAN

The reassessment is really not necessary because what we had was years of scientific study, years of comparative groups of women who have taken it, who, you know, attested the fact that this is a safe method of abortion.


There's nothing wrong with reassessing, but this is the first time that this has been done.


Now you have to really realize that abortion pills now are on a medical, legal and moral precipice.


STORTZ

So there are other ways to access abortion, including other pills. Would this really close the option off to anyone?


HOFFMAN

Okay. The other way to use medical abortion is Misoprostol. You've got two drugs, right? They're going after Mifepristone… which makes the regime far more effective. So we're left with the Misoprostol.


Now what's the problem with that medication? The problem with that… taking that pill alone, which we have used and providers and physicians have used prior to Mifepristol… is that it's between 80 and 93 or 94% effective.


So, that means that women who take that are far more at risk to continue in their pregnancy, to having ectopic pregnancies– they have to have surgical abortion as a backup. If they're living in states where there's no access to that, they're in trouble.


STORTZ

Since this is a federal lawsuit, are there state level workarounds?


HOFFMAN

Yes…well… we try to do state level workarounds. But, let's say the judge rules in the favor of the anti-abortion lawsuit. It will be appealed obviously and it will go up… and guess where it's gonna land?


It's gonna land at the same Supreme Court that overturned Roe. So, we're looking at a cliffhanger. Yes, we have to work vigorously on a state by state level, but I have been consistently pushing this as a national issue.


We cannot have this human civil right for all women and girls, just ripped away from us and just fight it on a state by state level. We have to keep that focus on national.


STORTZ

That was Merle Hoffman, founder and CEO of Choices Women's Medical Center.


Thanks so much for being with us.


HOFFMAN

Always. Thank you very much.



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