Massachusetts' stockpile of abortion pills remains unused

Gov. Maura Healey's move to secure 15,000 doses of mifepristone hangs in the balance as Supreme Court decision looms.

Massachusetts' stockpile of abortion pills remains unused
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File
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A stockpile of 15,000 abortion pill doses, purchased by the University of Massachusetts Amherst at the request of Democratic Gov. Maura Healey, has remained untouched for over a year, the Boston Herald reported Tuesday.

The nearly $700,000 worth of medication was procured following a Texas judge's April 2023 ruling that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) erred in approving measures to expand abortion pill access. Despite the significant investment, the pills have been left unused as the Texas case made its way to the Supreme Court, which is expected to deliver a verdict in the coming weeks.

Karissa Hand, a spokesperson for Healey's office, told the Daily Caller, "We have preserved these doses as the case remains pending before the Supreme Court and mifepristone remains legal and accessible. We will evaluate next steps based on the court's ruling, but no matter what, mifepristone and access to reproductive health care will remain protected in Massachusetts."

The state's Department of Public Health also informed the Boston Herald it was awaiting the Supreme Court order before distributing the pills, which have a five-year shelf life.

Pro-life doctors arguing the case contend the FDA's relaxed restrictions unnecessarily put women at risk of complications, including hemorrhaging and major surgery. However, during oral arguments in March, Supreme Court justices appeared hesitant to order the FDA to roll back its decision to allow mifepristone to be sent to patients through the mail without an in-person doctor's visit.

Justice Neil Gorsuch remarked during the proceedings, "This case seems like a prime example of turning what could be a small lawsuit into a nationwide legislative assembly on an FDA rule, or any other federal government action."

Other Democrat states have also stockpiled abortion pills following the Texas ruling and the Supreme Court's June 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In June 2023, Maryland's Board of Public Works ordered $1.3 million to be used to purchase 30,000 doses of mifepristone and 5,000 misoprostol. Demand for abortion pills through services like Aid Access, a European nonprofit that delivers the abortion pill by mail, surged to 172 requests a day after the Texas ruling, up from 89 requests per day prior to the decision.

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