Governors Are Stockpiling Controversial Drug In Wake Of Texas Ruling

In the wake of a Texas federal judge suspending the FDA approval of abortion drug mifepristone, Democratic governors from around the country are stockpiling doses of the abortion medication.

Maura Healey, the Democratic governor of Massachusetts, announced on Monday that her state has acquired sufficient mifepristone doses that would last a full year. Last week, the University of Massachusetts Amherst purchased 15,000 of those doses, the governor said, and they could arrive this week.

In addition, Massachusetts is set to spend $1 million so that health-care providers can be reimbursed when they purchase the drug. 

In a statement, Healey said:

“Mifepristone has been used safely for more than 20 years and is the gold standard. 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.”

The FDA has approved two different drugs to be used in medical abortions. One is mifepristone and the other is misoprostol. The latter is a safe and effective alternative to mifepristone, but it’s not as effective as when mifepristone is used first. That’s why Democratic governors are up in arms about the recent decision in Texas court.

The future of reproductive health is in flux right now, as two competing rulings in federal court were handed down last week. 

The Texas judge who former President Donald Trump appointed suspended the approval of mifepristone. In making his ruling, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk said the FDA overstepped the authority it has when it approved the drug. The Biden administration can appeal that ruling through this Friday.

Within the same hour that the Texas decision was handed down, though, a Washington state federal judge ordered that the FDA not intervene with the use of the drug in at least the 17 states that have sued the Biden administration so that restrictions that are placed on the drug can be lifted.

So, while the future of the use of mifepristone – and abortion drugs in general – is in question, Democratic governors aren’t taking any chances. Massachusetts isn’t the only state doing so, either.

Last week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said his state purchased enough of the drug to last three years. The state received 30,000 doses of the drug late last month, after he ordered the Department of Corrections in the state to purchase them.

In a press conference he sent out last week – ahead of both court rulings – Inslee said:

“Washington will not sit idly by and risk the devastating consequences of inaction. Washington is a pro-choice state, and no Texas judge will order us otherwise.”

Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor of California, followed suit Monday, saying they would be stockpiling doses of misoprostol. He said California has already been able to secure as much as 2 million of those pills, 250,000 of which are already in the state.