Abortion Pill

Blue states making bulk purchases of abortion drugs as court decisions loom

Many Democratic administrations are purchasing abortion drugs in bulk as the abortion pill’s legality faces an ongoing challenge in federal court. 

Washington state had already announced earlier this month that it was planning to stockpile 30,000 doses of mifepristone, the first pill in the regimen, as an “insurance policy.” When a Texas judge upended mifepristone’s approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Massachusetts followed suit, announcing that it would purchase 15,000 doses of the drug. 

New York and California to promote failure-prone misoprostol-only abortions

Governors in New York and California responded by saying they are purchasing thousands of doses of misoprostol – the regimen’s second pill, which causes the uterus to contract and expel the preborn human. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) made the announcement at a press conference for Planned Parenthood of Greater New York on Tuesday. “Once again, states have become the battleground on these fights and the latest steps to tear down these rights have only strengthened our resolve, so I’m proud to announce that New York State will create a stockpile of Misoprostol, another form of medication abortion,” Hochul said. 

Her office said on Tuesday that the state’s health department would “immediately” start purchasing misoprostol “in order to stockpile 150,000 doses, a five-year supply, in order to meet anticipated needs.” California, meanwhile, has already purchased 250,000 misoprostol pills with the state negotiating the ability to purchase up to 2 million through CalRx, the state’s prescription drug service. And while Michigan and Illinois haven’t announced bulk purchases, their governors have both made efforts to shore up access through insurers and health care providers.

States spend millions to ensure that vulnerable humans are killed

Mifepristone is in somewhat of a legal limbo as the Biden administration has appealed the Texas decision and another judge in Washington issued a contradictory ruling – making a U.S. Supreme Court intervention more likely. The recently announced purchases are part of a broader attempt by blue state governors to secure the end of preborn children’s lives.

As Newsom’s office noted, he launched the “Reproductive Freedom Alliance” with 21 governors working to expand abortion access in the face of pro-life challenges brought after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs.

California, which has a contract with ANI Pharmaceuticals, has reportedly shared details of its plans to help other states who want to take advantage of the same deal, according to Politico. “We wanted to be very mindful about not creating any kind of run on the market or uncertainty in other states,” Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary Julia Spiegel reportedly said.

On Monday, the California Department of Managed Healthcare told plan providers that if the Texas decision takes effect, they will be required to cover mifepristone until April 14 and misoprostol-only abortions if mifepristone becomes unavailable. 

Like Washington state, California has told pharmacies and health care providers it would help them access their stockpiles. Washington is doing this through the Department of Corrections, whose head reportedly told state legislators on Monday that it had a “large centralized pharmacy” for distributing prescriptions. 

Legislators are considering a bill that would require the department to sell the bill at $42.50 per dose but the total cost for the upcoming budget cycle is $1.6 million (including the cost of four full-time employees). According to the Seattle Times, the pharmacy is already secure but the department is requesting $200,000 per year for additional security in relation to this program. 

The costs are relatively high in other states as well. Massachusetts has devoted $1 million “to support providers contracted with Department of Public Health with paying for these doses,” according to its announcement. California, which has already devoted $200 million for abortion-related costs, is paying $100,000 for its first 250,000 doses of misoprostol. Its contract includes an option for purchasing more at 43 cents per pill, according to Politico.

Leaving women to deal with dangerous self-managed abortions and higher failure rates

All of these efforts, if successful, will result in thousands of preborn children losing their lives and potentially fatal complications for mothers. Without the in-person dispensing requirement, pro-life doctors have said, women aren’t accessing critical screening for complications like ectopic pregnancies or gestational age. 

The New York Times recently published a story claiming that “[m]ore than 100 scientific studies, spanning continents and decades, have examined the effectiveness and safety of mifepristone and misoprostol, the abortion pills” and allegedly concluded that “the pills are a safe method for terminating a pregnancy.” But as Live Action News has noted, the studies had several flaws such as pro-abortion bias, and used what are likely out-of-date protocols.

California’s and New York’s reliance on misoprostol is especially dangerous as that drug has a higher failure rate, and using it for abortion is off-label. Dr. Ingrid Skop, an OBGYN with the Charlotte Lozier Institute, has reviewed the evidence (emphases added):

As an example of how poorly misoprostol alone functions to cause abortion, a 2010 study documented that misoprostol alone led to a 23.8% failure rate requiring surgery and the fetus continued to survive in 16.6% of the pregnancies. Misoprostol is known to produce birth defects such as Moebius Syndrome, associated with craniofacial and limb abnormalities (3). In contrast, there were 3.5% failures and 1.5% continuing pregnancies in the mifepristone and misoprostol group (4). Likewise, a 2013 study demonstrated 38.8% failures when misoprostol was used vaginally and 29.9% when used sublingually (under the tongue) (5). Similarly, a randomized trial in 2000 documented that 35% of women using unmoistened vaginal misoprostol had failures requiring surgery (6).  

Finally, a worldwide systematic review of more than 12,000 misoprostol abortions found that 22% (nearly one in four) required surgical completion because misoprostol failed to completely empty the uterus of the remains of the child (7). Unfortunately, there was no uniformity of dosing or route of administration in these misoprostol-only studies, leading to difficulty in comparisons or determination of the most effective way to provide misoprostol.

The true danger of the abortion pill is still unknown as the FDA has severely limited its reporting requirements, which it then used as a basis for loosening its regulations. Pro-life scholars have found purportedly troubling discrepancies in the data. One study looked at Medicaid data and found chemical abortion-related ER visits increased at a faster rate than those related to surgical abortions.

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