Senator Elizabeth Warren investigates abortion access among states\’ patchwork plans

wASHINGTON Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is launching a new round of questioning about states\’ limits on abortion rights as a battle over medical abortion hangs in the balance in federal court.

Warren and three other Democratic senators sent letters late last week to five major health care and pharmaceutical groups asking how the US Supreme Court decision overturning national abortion rights in recent years has impacted access to the healthcare and the treatment of patients by providers.

This isn\’t the first time Massachusetts Democrats have questioned these organizations, including the American Medical Association, Physicians for Reproductive Health, National Nurses United, the American Pharmacists Association and the American Hospital Association. Last summer he asked the same group of groups how the US Supreme Courts overturned Roe versus Wade it has impacted women\’s health care and reported in October that groups warned of reduced access to pregnancy care and abortion bans that will exacerbate existing health inequalities.

Warren does not chair a committee responsible for health policy, but Democrats on the Senate HELP and Finance committees have echoed his concern about access to mifepristone and restrictive abortion policies. The Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) signed the letter.

As we approach a year since this sweeping Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, we must address the devastating effects statewide abortion bans and worsening restrictions are having on women across the country, as well as new threats to medical abortion that are contributing to harmful misinformation about drug safety and availability, she said. Warren said in a statement to STAT.

In addition to access to the disputed abortion pill mifepristone that is in limbo with a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals case, Warren asked about the confusion surrounding misoprostol, a slightly less effective abortion drug. Blue states like California and New York have stockpiled the least controversial drug along with mifepristone. Some patients and doctors, however, have reported difficulty accessing FDA-approved drug due to national confusion over the legality of abortion drugs.

All groups Warren wrote for urging federal judges to maintain approval of mifepristones.

Judges and lawmakers should not substitute their own opinion for the experience, expertise and authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, AMA President Jack Resneck said in a statement after the appeals court temporarily banned from mailing pills while he was considering the case.

Pharmacists in particular have been confused by their role, especially in abortion-restrictive states. The FDA in January updated mifepristone rules to allow registered pharmacies to dispense the drug, instead of requiring patients to get it directly from their doctor. Major pharmacy chains Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS all signaled they would register to dispense the drugs, but Walgreens was soon embroiled in controversy over its decision not to register in 21 states, including four where abortion remains legal.

The Texas court decision that triggered the potential ban on mifepristone only adds more confusion and complexity to an already complicated state and federal legal and regulatory landscape for mifepristone-related pharmacists and patients, the American Pharmacists Association said in a statement. April.

Earlier this month a three-judge appellate panel heard discussions of mifepristone and the FDA\’s approval process and appeared to question the agencies\’ decision-making process and the safety of the drug, which has been on the market for more of two decades.

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