The governor of Massachusetts reminded pharmacies Wednesday that they are required to stock a key abortion pill, despite a nationwide effort by anti-abortion activists to ban the medication.
The action comes as a federal judge in Texas is considering a lawsuit that would overturn decades-old federal approval of the drug.
Democratic Gov. Maura Healey issued a written statement citing guidance from the state board overseeing pharmacies that says they must maintain “a continuous, sufficient supply of all family planning medications, including mifepristone, misoprostol, emergency contraception, and contraceptive prescriptions.”
Misoprostol is also used as an abortion drug.
Healey said Massachusetts will always protect abortion access.
“At a time when states are rushing to ban medication abortion and some pharmacies are irresponsibly restricting access to it, we are reminding Massachusetts pharmacies that they have an obligation to provide critical reproductive health medications," Healey said in the statement.
Medical abortion is the country’s most common method for ending pregnancies. Massachusetts in 2020 passed a law expanding access to abortion in the state.
If U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk rules against the Food and Drug Administration in the Texas cases, it’s unclear how quickly access to mifepristone could be curtailed. Revoking or suspending approval of a drug after more than 20 years would also be an unprecedented challenge to the agency.
More than a dozen states banned abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
Healey said yielding to what she described as “coercive tactics” will further “strip pregnant people of their agency and rights and will violate the responsibility of pharmacies and pharmacy departments to provide critical healthcare services.”
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.