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Legal Battle Unfolds Over North Carolina Medication Abortion Restrictions

Photo from AP News

In a Greensboro federal court, a legal clash ensued over North Carolina’s stringent regulations on medication abortion, specifically involving the drug mifepristone as per the report of Courthouse News Service. Dr. Amy Bryant, in her January 2023 lawsuit against the North Carolina Medical Board, contends that the state’s imposed requirements, surpassing FDA guidelines, unduly burden both her and her patients. The central question revolves around whether the state can impose additional restrictions beyond FDA recommendations.

Photo from Spectrum News 1

State Intervention Sparks Debate

Lawyers representing State Senate President pro tempore Phil Berger and Speaker of the House Timothy Moore argue that states possess the authority to enhance regulations on drugs with FDA Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, citing mifepristone as an example.

Bryant’s legal team asserts that North Carolina’s restrictions conflict with federal law, disrupting the regulatory balance established by the FDA for over two decades.

The court deliberates on whether the state must strictly adhere to FDA guidelines or if it has the leeway to introduce additional restrictions on certain drugs.

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Contentious Restrictions and Patient Safety

Debates intensify over the 72-hour waiting period, ultrasound requirement, and the prohibition of telemedicine for mifepristone prescriptions, with Bryant’s lawyer emphasizing their negative impact on access, especially for rural and underprivileged residents.

State representatives argue that these restrictions are minimal burdens aimed at safeguarding women’s health, citing the ultrasound as crucial for determining gestational age and preventing complications.

The court also addresses the inconvenience of requiring physicians to report patient side effects to the FDA, with arguments weighing the practicality and necessity of such mandates.

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