• February 5th, 2023
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Lawmakers Introduce Measure to Reaffirm FDA’s Power to Preempt States’ Efforts to Ban Abortion Pills


 

U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Mondaire Jones (D-NY) introduced a resolution on October 17, to reaffirm the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to preempt state law and ensure patients continue to have access to reproductive health care products – including abortion pills.

 

Photo: U.S. Rep DeGette U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette

The measure comes as more than a dozen states have enacted new laws to limit, or outright ban, patients’ access to reproductive care in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. And, as some states are now reportedly seeking to criminalize the delivery of abortion pills by mail to patients within their borders.

 

The resolution reaffirms the FDA’s preemptive authority to prevent states from enacting regulations that limit or prohibit patients from accessing reproductive health products approved by the agency, including abortion pills delivered directly to patients. It also reaffirms the authority of the U.S. Attorney General to take action against any state that enacts a law that prohibits or limits a patients’ ability to access or use such products.

 

“We are not going to sit back and allow states to put their own radical agendas between patients and the care they need,” said DeGette, co-chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. “Every woman in this country, no matter where she lives or how much money she makes, deserves the freedom to make her own health care decisions – including whether to use birth control or seek abortion care. By reaffirming FDA’s power to regulate such products, we are sending the states a clear message that we will not tolerate any attempt to limit women’s access to reproductive care.”

 

“Congress must act immediately to prevent states from banning medication abortions,” Jones said. “Our most fundamental rights are under attack by this rogue Supreme Court majority, and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect these rights and defend every American’s access to life-saving medical care. I urge my colleagues to support this resolution and safeguard reproductive health services at the state level — before it is too late.”

 

Congress granted FDA sole authority to regulate reproductive health products in the U.S. when it passed the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. It also granted the agency preemptive authority to prevent states from enacting their own regulations that would prohibit or restrict patients’ ability to access a reproductive health product approved by the agency.

 

“We are not going to sit back and allow states to put their own radical agendas between patients and the care they need.”
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette

 

Medication abortions account for half ofall pregnancy terminations in the U.S. Medications, such as mifepristone, which are widely used to terminate pregnancies in the U.S., have a long history of being safe and effective, and have been approved by FDA for such use for more than 20 years.

 

In addition to DeGette and Jones, the resolution is co-sponsored by Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), André Carson (D-IN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), Dina Titus (D-NV), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chuy García (D-IL), John Larson (D-CT), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Marie Newman (D-IL), Mark Takano (D-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Sara Jacobs (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Troy Carter (D-LA), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).

 

The resolution has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Women’s Law Center, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Power to Decide, the EMAA Project, and Physicians for Reproductive Health.

 

Full text of the resolution can be found here.

 

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