House Democrats are moving to protect access to abortion pills after a federal judge in Texas blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of mifepristone, a drug that can be used for abortions and to manage early miscarriages.
Reps. Pat Ryan (D-N.Y.) and Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas) reintroduced the Protecting Reproductive Freedom Act on Monday, which would reaffirm the FDA’s approval authority for abortion medication over state laws. It would also protect doctors’ ability to provide abortion medication through telehealth.
The legislation, which uses non-binding “Sense of Congress” language, is unlikely, however, to move in the Republican-controlled House.
“A woman’s right to choose is one of our country’s foundational freedoms,” Ryan said in a statement. “These deeply personal and private medical decisions should be made by women and their families, not by extremist judges, courts, or politicians.”
“My priority is protecting abortion access for women in New York and across the country. This legislation will reaffirm the FDA’s approval authority and protect doctors who use telemedicine to prescribe medication abortion,” he added.
The legislative push comes three days after a federal judge in Texas issued a stay that halts the prescription and distribution of mifepristone, which has been available to consumers for more than two decades. The FDA has appealed the decision.
District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was appointed by former President Trump, sided with an anti-abortion group that had argued that the FDA improperly rushed its approval process, leading to an unsafe drug regimen landing on the market. Mifepristone was first approved in 2000.
In a separate case, a U.S. district judge in the Eastern District of Washington state blocked the FDA from “altering the status quo and rights as it relates to the availability of Mifepristone” in 17 states and Washington, D.C., contrasting with the Texas ruling.
The issue could reach the Supreme Court.
Fletcher — who represents Texas’s 7th congressional district — railed against the ruling from her home state.
“Once again, Texas is at the epicenter of attacks on the health and freedom of Americans with the unprecedented district court decision which, if enforced, would be devastating to women and families across our country and to our established drug-approval system,” she said in a statement.
“It is critical that we do everything we can to preserve and protect the FDA’s authority to approve safe and effective medication, including abortion medication,” she added.