Health & Science

Officials with Planned Parenthood concerned about recent abortion-related lawsuits

A federal judge heard a case that could force a major abortion pill off the market.

FILE - Boxes of the drug mifepristone sit on a shelf at the West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on March 16, 2022. On Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, the Food and Drug Administration finalized a rule change that allows women seeking abortion pills to get them through the mail, replacing a long-standing requirement that they pick up the medicine in person.
AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File
FILE – Boxes of the drug mifepristone sit on a shelf at the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on March 16, 2022. Planned Parenthood officials say the increase of abortion-related lawsuits are concerning.

Planned Parenthood officials are concerned about various abortion-related lawsuits they feel have put people's lives at risk.

The FDA approved Mifepristone more than 20 years ago and it has since been used as a major abortion pill nationwide. Now it's being questioned by Federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk and if the case succeeds, abortion clinics and patients across the nation could face repercussions.

Judge Kacsmaryk, a federal judge, held the hearing on Wednesday, March 15 in Amarillo, Texas. Plaintiffs sought to limit availability of Mifepristone with a focus on the FDA's regulatory and approval process. The FDA said they approved the drug "based on a thorough and comprehensive review of the scientific evidence presented and determined that it was safe and effective for its indicated use."

Bhavik Kumar is the Director of Primary and Trans Care at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coasts. He said cases such as this one make his job as a physician more difficult.

"While this case and other attacks we have discussed today may have originated in Texas, what happens in Texas doesn't stay in Texas," Kumar said.

Kumar said Mifepristone is used in over half of reported abortions in the US. Kumar also cited data from the American Medical Association about various studies and medical reviews involving Mifepristone.

"There have been over 780 medical reviews and 420 randomized, controlled studies," he said, "showing overwhelming safety for its use in abortion care as well as management for miscarriage and early pregnancy pregnancy loss."

This hearing comes just a week after a local civil lawsuit filed by a Galveston county man suing three women for allegedly assisting in terminating his now ex-wife's pregnancy.

Wendy Davis is from Planned Parenthood Texas Votes and voiced her thoughts on the lawsuit.

"This lawsuit is nothing short of targeted harassment. And its intention is crystal clear; to use the judicial system as an instrument of fear and intimidation," she said.

According to The Texas Tribune, the man who filed the lawsuit alleges his ex-wife learned she was pregnant in July 2022. He said his ex-wife texted with her friends who sent her information about an international group that provides abortion-inducing medication. A third woman delivered the medication, and text messages on file indicate the wife self-managed the abortion at home.

The lawsuit claims that assisting self-managed abortion qualifies as murder under state law. The women have not yet been criminally charged, and Texas abortion laws exempt the pregnant person from prosecution, and the ex-wife is not named as a defendant.

Briscoe Cain, a representative and attorney from Deer Park, said in a statement that they have plans to also name the manufacturer of the abortion pill as a defendant.

"Anyone involved in distributing or manufacturing abortion pills will be sued into oblivion," Cain said.