The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to 12 Democratic-led US states, is making it difficult for people to obtain a common abortion drug.
In order to ensure its safe use, mifepristone, one of two drugs used to induce abortions, received approval in 2000.
The states argued the justification for the drug’s limits is lacking in a lawsuit they filed on Thursday.
In the US, the most popular kind of the procedure is a medication abortion.
Since the US Supreme Court invalidated the right to an abortion statewide last summer, it has been under increasing political pressure and now accounts for more than half of all abortions performed in the nation.
A group of conservative anti-abortion activists filed their own lawsuit to challenge the drug’s clearance in November.
Mifepristone and another medication, misoprostol, are thought to work well together to end pregnancies during the first 10 weeks.
Yet, although mifepristone is strictly regulated by the FDA, misoprostol is widely available.
The Democrats lawsuit claims that this has led to “burdensome restrictions” on a medication that is the “gold standard” for abortions and has a high safety profile.
It was filed in federal court on behalf of the states of Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, and New Mexico.
The plaintiffs noted that the drug’s clearance was “based on a thorough and complete evaluation of the scientific data” and stated that “the availability of medication abortion has never been more crucial.”
But, the limitations on the drug have made it “harder for doctors to prescribe, harder for pharmacists to fill, harder for patients to access, and more burdensome… to dispense,” they claimed.
Late last year, opponents of abortion claimed in their own lawsuit that the strict regulation of the medicine is proof that it is harmful to women and young girls.
Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal advocacy group, said that the FDA had overstepped its bounds by authorizing the medicine “without reason” and then spending the subsequent 20 years “removing what meager restrictions were previously in place.”
Its lawsuit requests that the court order the FDA to completely remove mifepristone from the market.