State’s $700K Stockpile of Abortion Pills Sits Unused

( – In June 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, returning the question of abortions to the states. The following year, a federal judge from Texas suspended the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) approval of mifepristone, a drug used to induce an abortion in the early stages of pregnancy. In April 2023, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D) directed state officials to spend roughly $700K to purchase a stockpile of those pills. To date, they remain unused.

On May 28, the Boston Herald published an article about Massachusetts’ purchase of 15,000 doses of mifepristone. The article also confirmed that state officials had not distributed any of those abortion pills.

Karissa Hand, Healey’s spokesperson, said the governor decided to take action in 2023 to ensure that mifepristone remains available in Massachusetts since the courts could limit or eliminate future access to the pill.

In August 2023, the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled that the challenge to mifepristone’s approval came too late. However, the panel reversed the FDA’s previous decisions to expand access to the drug.

Acting on behalf of the FDA, the US Solicitor General’s Office filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court the following month. The nation’s highest court agreed to hear the case. The panel also suspended the lower court’s temporary injunction barring enforcement of the FDA’s expansion of the abortion pill’s availability, pending the outcome of the case.

Hand told the Boston Herald that Massachusetts officials were holding onto the thousands of doses of mifepristone it stockpiled since the Supreme Court hadn’t handed down its ruling yet regarding the abortion drugs availability. She reminded the news agency that the abortion-inducing pills remain “legal and accessible” in the meantime.

Continuing, Hand said Healey’s administration would “evaluate [the] next steps” once SCOTUS rules on the matter later this year. She also confirmed that “no matter what,” access to mifepristone would “remain protected in Massachusetts.

An unnamed official from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said the state would “take steps to distribute the stockpile” once the Supreme Court handed down its ruling. They also indicated that the state didn’t plan on purchasing any more mifepristone.

Court watchers say SCOTUS will likely hand down its ruling in June.

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