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Harris says challenge to abortion pills an attack on science and public health

Vice President Kamala Harris warned Friday that a looming Texas court decision threatening access to abortion pills is an attack on a “fundamental freedom” of access to health care.

Speaking to abortion rights advocates, Harris said the lawsuit challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone was a partisan attack on science and medicine.

“This is not just an attack on women’s fundamental freedoms; it is an attack on the very foundation of our public health system,” Harris said. 

A decision in the lawsuit — which could come as early as Friday — could result in mifepristone being pulled from the market, despite being approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago.

Mifepristone, a drug that blocks hormones necessary for pregnancy, has been approved by the FDA since 2000 to induce an abortion up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy. 

“And so those who would attack this process and the ability of the FDA to make these decisions ought to look in their own medicine cabinets to figure out whether they’re prepared to say that those medications that they need to alleviate suffering and to prolong the quality of life should no longer be available to them,” Harris said.

Abortion pills have become one of the next major fronts in the fight over reproductive health care in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. 

The lawsuit was filed by the conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom in the Northern District of Texas. 

Many states with strict abortion bans also limit the availability of mifepristone. But if Trump-appointed Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk rules in the group’s favor, it could end the availability of mifepristone even in states without abortion restrictions, effectively imposing a nationwide ban. 

Harris said the White House is committed to protecting “every woman’s right to make decisions about her own body.”

But it’s unclear what kind of response the administration would have. Any appeal of the decision would go to the right-leaning 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and, eventually, to the same Supreme Court that struck down Roe v. Wade.

Harris indicated she was raising awareness for the American public.

“We are here today to talk about what we will do to highlight this issue to make sure the people of America are aware of what is happening, and so we can make sure that the people of America are protected in terms of us fighting for their rights to have access to the medication that they need,” she said.

Source: The Hill

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