Massachusetts, California begin stockpiling abortion pills following judge’s decision on mifepristone

Two Democratic-led states are stockpiling abortion pills following a ruling last week by a U.S. District Court judge in Texas that could halt its use nationwide.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday his state had secured about 2 million pills of misoprostol and Massachusetts stockpiled 15,000 doses of mifepristone, as the Biden administration appeals the Friday ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk that said the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone 23 years ago was unlawful.

“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,” Newsom said in a news release. “We will not cave to extremists who are trying to outlaw these critical abortion services. Medication abortion remains legal in California.”

California purchased the stockpile of misoprostol in anticipation of Kacsmaryk’s ruling, according to the release.

During a news conference on Monday, Gov. Maura Healey said “abortion will remain safe, legal, and accessible here in Massachusetts,” adding that the 15,000 doses should cover about a year’s supply.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren appeared alongside Healey, as well as Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell. They said the Biden administration was committed to taking steps to protect abortion rights.

“There are many steps they can take,” Warren said. “And they have begun by immediately appealing the court ruling. … This extremist Texas judge reminds us that Roe will be on the ballot in 2024.”

The Biden administration argued Monday that the legal challenge to the FDA’s 2000 approval of mifepristone is “manifestly untimely” and said the group of anti-abortion rights physicians and medical associations that targeted access to the drug lack the legal standing to challenge the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, which they neither take nor prescribe.

Further complicating the legal landscape is a separate decision from a federal district judge in Washington, also issued Friday, that blocks the FDA from altering the status quo with regard to mifepristone’s availability in 16 states and the District of Columbia. Those states and D.C. sued the Biden administration in February over a set of restrictions imposed on the drug and sought to preserve access to it.

The Justice Department has sought clarification from that court as to its obligations under the order.

Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.

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