Texas lawmakers pen Biden, ask for abortion medication protections



AUSTIN (KXAN) — Democratic Texas lawmakers sent a letter to the White House asking for accessible abortion care within the state, despite a majority of abortions being made illegal in Texas after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The letter asked the Biden administration to protect “Texans’ constitutional right to travel, and receive travel support” if they choose to get an out-of-state abortion, but mostly addressed care within the state for women who cannot travel to other parts of the country where abortion is legal.

“In order to support these Texans who will not be able to access care out of state, we must make sure Texans can access FDA-approved abortion medication inside state lines,” lawmakers wrote.

Lawmakers asked of the president the following:

  • Declare a public health emergency protecting private providers who dispense medication abortion via telehealth
  • Support mission-driven telehealth providers and abortion funds nationwide
  • Establish a federal program for providers to dispense medication abortion
  • Invoke the federal government’s supremacy over station abortion laws that conflict with FDA-approved pharmaceutical regimens and regulations
  • Protect third parties within and outside the state of Texas from threat of civil and criminal actions where self-sourcing of abortion medications are used

Signing the letter were several groups such as ACLU of Texas, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Texas, Progress Texas and Whole Woman’s Health, among others. Nearly 50 Democratic lawmakers from the state also signed the letter, including Rep. Lloyd Doggett and Joaquin Castro. Senator Sarah Eckhardt and Rep. Vikki Goodwin, Donna Howard, Gina Hinojosa, John Bucy III and Celia Israel, all from Austin, also signed that letter.

“We know no strategy can fully substitute for a constitutional amendment or Congressional action codifying abortion rights into federal law,” the letter ended. “We know how critical the upcoming elections will be for codifying these rights. But between now and the codification of the legal right to abortion care, we must do everything we can to take care of our communities who have lost freedom over their own bodies and health care decisions.”

What are medicine-induced abortions?

Medication abortion is a two-step regimen consisting of Mifepristone and Misoprostol. It was approved by the FDA in 2016 as a safe and effective method to end a pregnancy up to 10 weeks along.

The FDA reports from 2000 to 2018, more than 3.7 million women have used abortion medication, specifically Mifepristone. Of those, the FDA reports less than 1% — 4,195 — experienced adverse reactions to the drug. The FDA reports 24 deaths associated with the drug since the product was approved in September 2000.

Still, the FDA asks people not to buy the medication over the internet. The FDA issued warning letters in 2019 to some organizations asking they stop providing and prescribing abortion medication to US citizens.

“The FDA remains very concerned about the sale of unapproved mifepristone for medical termination of early pregnancy on the internet because such a sale bypasses important safeguards designed to protect women’s health,” the FDA’s Office of Media Affairs wrote in an email to KXAN.

You can read more about online abortion medication, and the groups shipping it into Texas, in this KXAN investigates story.



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