North Carolina abortionist sues over state’s abortion pill law

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North Carolina abortionist Dr. Amy Bryant has filed a lawsuit against the state for its law mandating a 72-hour waiting period and in-person distribution of the abortion pill regimen at an abortion facility. These regulations are stricter than the recently-loosened FDA guidelines, which now allow the distribution of the pills at pharmacies. In her suit, Bryant is arguing that the federal guidelines should supersede the state’s restrictions.

According to ABC News, the complaint filed on behalf of Bryant reads, “North Carolina cannot stand in the shoes of [the] FDA to impose restrictions on medication access that FDA determined are not appropriate and that upset the careful balance FDA was directed by Congress to strike.”

“We know from years of research and use that medication abortion is safe and effective — there’s no medical reason for politicians to interfere or restrict access to it,” Bryant said in a statement provided to the Associated Press by the Expanding Medication Abortion Access project. “These burdensome restrictions on medication abortion force physicians to deal with unnecessary restrictions on patient care and on the healthcare system,” she added.

Despite this claim, data says otherwise. According to the FDA’s website, there have been 28 deaths associated with mifepristone (the first drug used in the abortion pill regimen), since it was approved in 2000.* Studies have found that the abortion pill is four times more dangerous than surgical abortion, while another study reveals that ER visits related to the pill’s use have skyrocketed 500% since 2002.

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Recent reports out of Indiana show two maternal deaths in that state linked to the abortion pill. In one of those instances, the abortion pill regimen was administered at 21 weeks — well beyond the 10-week gestational limit imposed by the FDA. With pharmacies now able to dispense the pill, there is a much greater likelihood that women will be able to take the drug later than this 10-week limit. Without direct oversight from an abortionist and no pre-abortion testing of any kind, there is no way to even accurately know gestational age before receiving the drugs, and nothing to stop women from picking up their prescriptions late or from holding onto the drug and taking it past the prescribed time, thereby increasing the risks.

Bryant’s North Carolina suit was filed the same day that GenBioPro, an abortion pill manufacturer, filed a similar lawsuit against the state of West Virginia in opposition to its abortion pill laws.

*The FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in patients who took mifepristone. As of June 30, 2022, there were 28 reports of deaths in patients associated with mifepristone since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy located outside the womb, such as in the fallopian tubes) resulting in death; and several fatal cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis). The adverse events cannot with certainty be causally attributed to mifepristone because of concurrent use of other drugs, other medical or surgical treatments, co-existing medical conditions, and information gaps about patient health status and clinical management of the patient. A summary report of adverse events that reflects data through June 30, 2022, is here. The FDA has reviewed this information and did not identify any new safety signals. The FDA intends to update this summary report as appropriate.

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