Democratic North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein won’t defend current state restrictions on abortion pills being currently contested by a January lawsuit seeking broader access to the medication, his office said Monday, according to the Associated Press.
Stein cited Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations that protect abortion pill access and trump the state’s law, according to the AP, leaving Republican lawmakers, who control both chambers of the state legislature, to defend against the lawsuit aimed at blocking the state’s restrictions.
Current North Carolina laws require the pills to be dispensed only after mandatory counseling and a 72-hour waiting period, according to the AP.
Dr. Amy Bryant, an OB-GYN who prescribes the drug Mifepristone, a type of pill used as an abortifacient, filed the lawsuit in January, which states that the state law interferes with the ability to provide mifepristone to patients, according to the AP.
The FDA approved in 2000 the use of mifepristone combined with another drug, misoprostol, to end a pregnancy chemically up until the 10th week, according to the AP. The FDA also eliminated an in-person pick-up requirement for the pill, it can also be shipped by mail-order or picked up at pharmacies.
The state AG and Justice Department are in charge of defending state laws in court. Stein, who is pro-choice, announced last month that he is running for governor in next year’s election, according to NBC News.
The state of NC’s restriction of women’s use of the prescriptions they need to exercise their reproductive freedoms violates federal law and the Constitution. 2/2
— Josh Stein (@JoshStein_) February 14, 2023
“Health care decisions—including those involving reproductive health—should be made by patients and their providers, not politicians. The state of North Carolina’s restriction of women’s use of the prescriptions they need to exercise their reproductive freedoms violates federal law and the Constitution,” Stein’s office said in a statement provided to the DCNF.
Republican state House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger have the ability to defend the law in the AG’s absence, according to the AP. Stein’s office told the DCNF that Stein wrote to legislative leaders saying the Department of Justice would cooperate with them should they choose to intervene in the case.
This lawsuit is the latest battle over access to abortion pills that has amplified since the Dobbs Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe. Recently, a lawsuit was filed in West Virginia challenging the state’s restrictions on abortion pills, as well as a Texas lawsuit looking to reverse the FDA’s approval of mifepristone and misoprostol for chemical abortion, could potentially change the laws.
Moore and Berger’s offices did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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