Abortion Pill

Alaska joins lawsuit to revoke FDA approval of abortion pill

Alaska, abortion

On February 10, Alaska joined 22 other states and a pro-life group in a federal lawsuit aiming to revoke the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill regimen. If successful, the first of the two drugs used in the abortion pill regimen, mifepristone, could be removed from the market. 

The lawsuit was originally filed in November 2022 by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Pediatricians, the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, and doctors Shaun Jester, Regina Frost-Clark, Tyler Johnson, and George Delgado. The goal is to have the abortion pill regimen taken off the market nationwide due to safety concerns. According to Alaska Public Media, the abortion pill is used for about one-third of abortions in the state and about a third of Alaskan women live in a borough without an abortion facility.

Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor, along with pro-life attorneys general from across the nation, filed a brief concerning the FDA’s approval of the abortion pill in 2000. The brief refers to the FDA’s process of approval as “deeply flawed.”  It also argued that the use of mifepristone without physician supervision has increased risks for women. 

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ADF explained, “The FDA also removed the few safeguards that were in place. In 2016, for example, the FDA extended the permissible gestational age of the baby for which a girl or woman may take chemical abortion drugs—from seven weeks’ gestation to 10 weeks’ gestation—increasing the mother’s risk of adverse complications. The FDA also changed the dosage and route of administration for the drugs, reduced the number of required in-person doctor visits from three to one, expanded who could prescribe and administer chemical abortion drugs beyond medical doctors, and eliminated the requirement for abortionists to report non-fatal complications from chemical abortion drugs.”

While the FDA claims the abortion pill is safe and effective for women up to 10 weeks gestation, one study actually found the abortion pill to be four times more dangerous for women than a first-trimester surgical abortion. The abortion pill also has a significant emotional impact on many women. 

When asked for an official comment from Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office concerning the issue of Alaska joining the lawsuit, a spokesman declined to comment and referred questions to the state Department of Law. However, in his annual address to the Legislature in January, Dunleavy said he wanted to “make Alaska the most pro-life state in the entire country.” 

Dunleavy also said, “Through the actions we’ll take together, when people ask, ‘Which of the 50 states values children and families the most from the moment of conception on? They’ll say Alaska.'”

Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, appointed by President Trump, is expected to rule on the federal court case toward the end of February. His ruling could block access to the mifepristone nationwide, but appeals to his ruling are expected.

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