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.
“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.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told CNN that banning the use of abortion pills leads her country in “overly dangerous ground”.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said this decision put the FDA’s approval process “upside down”.
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.
President Joe Biden called the judge’s ruling a “political and ideological” attack and said in a statement “this ruling is yet another unprecedented step to take away women’s basic freedoms and put their health at risk”.
He added that the only way to guarantee abortion rights are protected is to elect Congress members who support a federal law to reinstate access to safe, legal abortion, The Hill reported.
The pill was approved in 2000 after a four-year approval process and can be used for abortions up to 10 weeks of pregnancy and to control early miscarriages.