Earlier this month, a U.S. appeals court based in New Orleans decided to reimpose restrictions on the abortion pill mifepristone. The panel overturned the measures undertaken by the Food and Drug Administration since 2016 that relaxed limitations on the pill.
The court’s ruling mandates a prohibition on telemedicine prescriptions and mail shipments of the drug and changes the authorized use of the pill from a maximum of ten weeks to a maximum of seven weeks.
However, this ruling won’t be immediately enforced. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals fell short of demanding the complete removal of the drug from the market, a step that a lower court had previously taken. A representative from the U.S. Department of Justice announced that the Biden administration intends to challenge the ruling by appealing it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In anticipation of this decision, Governor Newsom revealed that California has acquired an emergency reserve of potentially two million doses of the abortion drug Misoprostol.
“In response to this extremist ban on a medication abortion drug, our state has secured a stockpile of an alternative medication abortion drug to ensure that Californians continue to have access to safe reproductive health treatments. We will not cave to extremists who are trying to outlaw these critical abortion services. Medication abortion remains legal in California,” said Newsom.
A press release from Governor Newsom’s office also lists several other ways that California is fighting back against the ruling.
Rep. Sara Jacobs strongly criticized the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, denouncing it as a “gross attack on our bodies and freedom.” In reality, the abortion pill itself is a “gross attack” on women’s bodies. These pills put women at risk for infection, injury, loss of fertility, depression, and other life-threatening complications. They also have a higher rate of dangerous side effects than surgical abortions.
Thankfully, Walgreens has decided against dispensing the abortion pill in almost two dozen states following legal threats from Republican lawmakers. In response, Governor Newsom criticized the retailer’s choice and instructed the state health department to reassess all contractual agreements between California and Walgreens.
California canceled a planned renewal of a contract with the retailer, which involved Walgreens procuring specialty drugs, mostly for the state’s prison healthcare system. The contract was scheduled to conclude by the end of April. Instead, Governor Newsom affirmed that the state would seek these services from alternative sources.
“California will not stand by as corporations cave to extremists and cut off critical access to reproductive care and freedom,” Newsom said. “California is on track to be the fourth largest economy in the world and we will leverage our market power to defend the right to choose.”
Californians deserve better than a governor who prioritizes a radical agenda over women’s health and safety. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made the right decision, and hopefully the Supreme Court will do the same.