Massachusetts to stockpile abortion pill as legal dispute escalates


(BOSTON) — Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey on Monday announced her state has begun stockpiling the abortion drug mifepristone ahead of a court-ordered injunction that could pull the drug from the market as early as Friday.

It’s a dramatic escalation in the fight over abortion rights that’s pitted red states versus blue, and emboldened Democrats to look for novel ways to defy the potential nationwide injunction slated to go into effect at the end of the week.

Under the governor’s plan, Healy said the University of Massachusetts Amherst has already purchased 15,000 doses — more than a year’s worth of mifepristone for the state. Another $1 million from state coffers would be offered to health care providers in the state to buy the drug before a nationwide injunction takes hold.

The governor also said she will sign an executive order noting that existing state law protect pharmacists and providers from criminal and civil legal liability if they continue to stock and dispense the drug.

“Here in Massachusetts, we are not going to let one extremist judge in Texas turn back the clock on this proven medication and restrict access to care in our state,” Healey said in a statement released Monday. “The action we are taking today protects access to mifepristone in Massachusetts and protects patients, providers and pharmacists from liability.”

Later, she said, “It harms patients, undermines medical expertise and takes away freedom. It’s an attempt to punish, to shame, to marginalize women. It’s unnecessary. It’s terrible.”

The announcement follows Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision last week to purchase a three-year supply of the drug for that state.

The bulk buys follow a ruling last Friday from a Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas that would suspend the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, the only drug specifically approved to end early pregnancies up to 10 weeks. The judge gave the Biden administration until this coming Friday to appeal with ruling, which it gave notice it would do late this past Friday.

The Biden administration is expected to ask the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday to put a hold on the judge’s nationwide injunction while the case is being considered by the upper court. It’s also expected that the case will eventually go to the Supreme Court.

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