Democrat Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek announced on Thursday that the state partnered with Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) to secure a three-year supply of mifepristone, the first drug used in a two-drug medication abortion regimen.
That three-year supply amounts to enough pills to end the lives of more than 22,000 unborn babies. Kotek stockpiled the pills in case the Supreme Court decides to allow a lower court ruling to stand limiting mifepristone’s use.
We cannot afford to stand by & watch our fundamental right to reproductive health care be stripped away.
I am announcing Oregon has secured a 3 year supply of Mifepristone.
— Governor Tina Kotek (@GovTinaKotek) April 20, 2023
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit in November 2022 against the FDA on behalf of four national medical associations and several doctors, alleging that the agency “chose politics over science and approved chemical abortion drugs for use in the United States.” The lawsuit points to six discrete agency actions since the legalization of mifepristone and misoprostol in 2000, and asked the court to hold the agency’s actions unlawful.
This month, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas handed down a 67-page decision that the FDA’s decisions were illegal under federal law and a nationwide injunction blocking the abortion pill.
Days later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit partially granted a stay requested by the Biden Justice Department. The court’s 42-page opinion temporarily put on hold the part of the decision about the 2000 FDA decision because it might be past the deadline for bringing legal challenges, though added that it was a “close call” and that the court might go the opposite direction after receiving additional legal arguments. But the appellate court rejected a stay on anything from 2016 to the present, affirming the trial court’s injunction.
The Justice Department subsequently asked the Supreme Court to grant a stay of the lower court decisions. The Supreme Court issued an administrative stay for five days while the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine filed its papers opposing a stay, and extended its deadline to this Friday at 11:59 p.m.
Kotek claimed in a statement that the lower courts’ decisions around the abortion pill set “an alarming precedent of putting politics above established science, medical evidence, and a patient’s health, life, and well-being — with potential implications beyond this one medication.”
She continued, “This meritless lawsuit is part of a larger campaign to ban abortion in every state, including those with legal protections for abortion access. We cannot afford to stand by and watch our fundamental right to reproductive health care be stripped away.”
The Democrat governor is directing the state’s licensing boards to issue guidance to Oregon providers clarifying that the state will support abortionists “regardless of the upcoming Supreme Court decision in the Texas lawsuit.” She will also “refuse non-fugitive extradition of individuals for criminal prosecution for receiving legal reproductive healthcare services in Oregon, supporting patients in accessing reproductive healthcare services in Oregon, or providing legal reproductive healthcare services in Oregon,” according to her office.
“Here in Oregon, I will make sure that patients are able to access the medication they need and providers are able to provide that medication without unnecessary, politically-motivated interference and intimidation,” Kotek said. “To our providers, to the patients who live in Oregon or have been forced to come to our state for care, and to those who are helping people access the care they need, know that I have your back.”
Kotek’s office noted that a separate mifepristone-related lawsuit is being co-led by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. In that lawsuit, a federal judge in Washington State issued a decision contradicting the Texas lawsuit and directed the FDA not to make any changes to the availability of the drug within Oregon and the 16 other states and the District of Columbia who joined the litigation.
Oregon joined Washington, New York, California and Massachusetts in stockpiling abortion pills in recent weeks. Maryland’s governor announced Friday that his state was doing the same, while New Jersey’s governor has said he’s considering doing so, according to the Associated Press.