TOPEKA, Kan. — One Kansas abortion clinic has joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to protect abortion pill access, amid looming threats.
The Trust Women Clinic in Wichita, Kansas, joined clinics from two other states in filing the lawsuit on Monday. FOX4’s Kansas Capitol Bureau spoke with a representative for the clinic, Zack Gingrich-Gaylord, about the lawsuit and legal battles that are underway.
“What we are trying to accomplish with this lawsuit is really, making healthcare accessible to more people,” Gingrich-Gaylord said. “We don’t believe that people living in Garden City should have to go to Colorado just to get a pill…or should have to travel two or three hours to Wichita just to get a pill.”
The lawsuit comes just two weeks after the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a Texas judge’s decision to roll back access to mifepristone. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear oral arguments in that case next week, May 17.
In the lawsuit filed by abortion clinics this week, the groups argue that mifepristone is needlessly restricted by the FDA and that such barriers run counter to over 20 years of scientific evidence that the medication is safe and effective.
The lawsuit also states that these restrictions have long been used as a tool by the anti-abortion movement to stigmatize and undermine access to medication abortion.
“Specific to this law suit…we’re asking the court to not reinstate in-person dispensing requirements, which would remove the ability to do telehealth and telemedicine… there are a couple of prescriber certification requirements, as well as pharmaceutical certification requirements that we don’t see for other medication for this similar risk profile,” Gingrich-Gaylord said.
Gingrich-Gaylord cited medications, like Tylenol and Advil as an example.
“There is significant risk factors in very common medication that don’t put them under kind of scrutiny that this very safe and affect abortion medication receives,” Gingrich-Gaylord explained.
Some of the FDA’s restrictions on mifepristone have been lifted in recent years. That includes dropping a requirement for the pill to be picked up in-person. This could be potentially rolled back with current legal battles.
However, there are still other restrictions that remain in effect, which includes requiring prescribers to undergo certification, and that people sign an agreement before taking it.
According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, an organization that filed the federal lawsuit against the FDA on behalf of the plaintiffs, the lawsuit seeks a ruling similar to that in State of Washington v. FDA to protect mifepristone access in the three states involved while litigation proceeds.
“The anti-abortion movement has come for medication abortion access in every state in the country. We are suing on behalf of abortion providers in states where abortion access remains, but healthcare practitioners need protection for providing medication abortion. Anti-abortion extremists have gone so far as to seek to override the FDA’s scientific judgment decades ago that mifepristone is safe and effective,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
“It is critical that abortion providers and patients obtain certainty in light of the chaos that is currently surrounding mifepristone.”