Two New Lawsuits Challenge State Restrictions on Abortion Pill Access, Arguing Federal Law Preempts State Laws

On Jan. 25, reproductive health advocates filed two federal lawsuits—one in North Carolina and West Virginia—challenging state laws imposing medically unnecessary restrictions on physicians prescribing the abortion pill mifepristone to their patients. Both cases argue that state laws are preempted by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules allowing telemedicine abortion and mailing of mifepristone.

“States cannot substitute their medical and scientific judgments for judgments FDA has made, and doing so undermines not only access to medication, but the country’s entire drug regulation system.”

ICYMI: Everything You Need to Know About Abortion Pills

People in red and blue states are now ordering pills online and using them in the privacy of their own homes without having to take time off work, travel long distances to clinics and pass through anti-abortion protesters to get the care they need.

How do abortion pills work? Are they safe? And how are people getting them? In a Ms. webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 18, reproductive health advocates Lauren Dubey of Choix and Melissa Madera of Plan C joined Ms. editor Carrie Baker, to break down everything you need to know about abortion pills.

New York Shield Law Would Protect Clinicians Mailing Abortion Pills to Patients in Red States

New York could become the second state, after Massachusetts, to pass a shield law extending to telemedicine abortion providers serving out-of-state patients. The proposed law would protect clinicians and pharmacists throughout the state from criminal prosecution, extradition, loss of license or malpractice insurance, and from subpoenas of their medical records for prescribing and sending abortion pills to people who need them anywhere in the United States.  

Keeping Score: FDA and Justice Dept. Improve Abortion Pill Access; Patty Murray Makes Senate History; Remembering Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Barbara Walters

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in in this biweekly round-up.

This week: two victories for abortion pills from the Biden administration; Patty Murray makes history as the first female Senate pro tem; Brittney Griner released from Russian prison; feminists mourn the loss of Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Barbara Walters; AAPI reporters are drastically underrepresented in news media; the U.S. House of will have twice as many committee chairs named “Mike” (six) as it will have women chairs (three); and more.

FDA Allows Pharmacies to Sell Abortion Pills—But Requires Unnecessary and Burdensome Certification Process

On Jan. 3, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new certification process for brick-and-mortar pharmacies to become eligible to sell the abortion pill mifepristone for the first time. Reproductive rights advocates celebrated the change, but the FDA is still blocking mifepristone from being available in pharmacies like any other drug, despite the fact that mifepristone is safer than many over-the-counter medications.

“Today, we celebrate this progress and tomorrow, we’ll continue to work towards a world with no restrictions on medication abortion care.”

Denying Access to Abortion Is Femicide

It has been just over two years since the imposition of a near-total ban on abortion across Poland. The ban removed almost all conditions in which a woman can access abortion care, leaving millions of women in the dark when it comes to deciding what happens to their bodies. 

It is more critical than ever that we stand up to support access to life-saving abortion care, especially those with the power to liberalize laws. There are millions of lives depending on it.