DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is joining the legal fight to keep medication abortion legal nationwide.
Weiser has joined a multistate coalition of 24 attorneys general to protect access to mifepristone, the first part of a two-part drug regimen used to induce abortions. The group from Democrat-leaning states filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that placed restrictions on mifepristone.
About half of all abortions in the U.S. are done with pills and not surgery.
Mifepristone and medical abortions remain available in 37 states, as a lower court ruling that limits access to mifepristone is on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court decides on the case.
Weiser told FOX31 the fight over mifepristone is a new effort to limit abortions nationwide after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last year and allowed states to impose their own abortion restrictions.
“This litigation involving mifepristone would stop states like Colorado from making access to medication-assisted abortions possible,” Weiser said. “That’s just wrong. And it goes against the idea that states can decide for themselves: Will they protect access to reproductive health care?”
Dmitri Oehling is the office manager with Colorado Right to Life and said the anti-abortion movement wants the drug outlawed entirely.
“What the ultimate objective should be is to just shut down giving out mifepristone to anybody for medication,” Oehling said.
Mifepristone abortion pill restrictions reinstated
Mifepristone has been legally available since 2000 when it was approved for patient use by the Food and Drug Administration. Earlier this year, the FDA loosened restrictions on mifepristone, saying patients could order it through the mail and no longer had to see a doctor in person to be prescribed the medication.
A previous court ruling said the statute of limitations had expired to eliminate mifepristone now that it’s been on the market for more than six years, but it did reinstate restrictions that existed in 2016. Namely among those restrictions: that a patient would have to see a doctor three times before getting the abortion medication and could only use it during the first seven weeks of pregnancy, a time before some women know they’re pregnant.
“Never before has a court second-guessed without any scientific basis the decisions of the FDA,” said Weiser, who suggested lower-court rulings would have unintended consequences for all kinds of drugs that have been legally available for years.
“It’s fine to challenge the FDA in many, many ways if what they’re doing is going to harm another human being,” Oehling countered.
If mifepristone is no longer available at some point, most abortion clinics plan to use misoprostol alone to terminate pregnancies. Studies have shown that misoprostol’s success rates can range from 84% to 96%, whereas the two-drug combination can be up to 99.6% effective.