Vermont Takes Action to Guarantee Abortion Pill Access

by Joshua Brown
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The lawmakers in Vermont decided to pass laws that support reproductive and gender-related health. One part of the law protects people’s access to a medicine (mifepristone) that is often used when someone wants an abortion even if the US government stopped approving it.

New laws are in place to protect health care providers from getting in trouble if they give people treatment that has to do with reproductive needs or gender identity. The new laws also now include giving a medicine called an “abortioin” too, which makes the state the first to recognize it as part of legally protected health care services.

The House and Senate passed exactly the same bill, which means that it’s now legal for people to get medication that can end a pregnancy. This pill has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the 1st of January 2023, even if it’s not allowed or accepted right now.

Recently, the Supreme Court in the US made a decision that protects women’s right to get access to drugs. The Biden administration and Danco Laboratories (a company based in New York) appealed against a Texas court ruling which tried to stop the FDA approval of mifepristone (a drug). The Supreme Court wasn’t happy with this ruling and it allowed women to still have access to their medication.

Vermont state Senator Virginia Lyons, who is a Democrat, said that if the FDA takes away approval of a drug, then companies could not officially market it. However, Lynch noted that this doesn’t mean people won’t be able to buy it – pharmacists and healthcare providers will still be allowed to sell it in the state of Vermont, even without FDA approval. The FDA did not comment on this matter yet.

Greer Donley, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law who knows a lot about abortion law, said that states can’t allow medicines that aren’t allowed by the federal government. But this doesn’t mean that the federal government will act if states go against their regulations. The U.S. has not done anything when it comes to medical cannabis in some states even though it’s illegal federally. There are some legal battles over states that have banned abortion pills too.

Donley said that there is an ongoing debate on whether the federal law covering food and drugs sets a limit or not.

This month, Charity Clark, the Attorney General of Vermont, joined a group of other states in protesting against a court ruling by a federal judge in Texas. The court decided to take away approval given 23 years ago to mifepristone, a medication related to abortion. Before this ruling was passed, some people had expressed their opinion that the approval given all those years ago was wrong.

Women who want to stop their pregnancy early can take two medicines called mifepristone and misoprostol. Those living in states that allow access can even get the medicine delivered to them by mail.

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