NRL News

Judge squashes much of North Carolina law, including that women need an in-person visit to obtain abortion pills

by | Jun 5, 2024

By Dave Andrusko

In a decision foreshadowed by her earlier holdings, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles has permanently blocked a protective state law intended to safeguard women who are taking the abortion pill. Judge Eagles, an Obama nominee, “ruled that state law preventing access to abortion medications for home use conflicted with the authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” Nick Robertson reported for The Hill.

Monday’s order “means North Carolina cannot require that only doctors prescribe the pills; that the drugs be provided to the patient only in person; and that the patient schedule a follow-up appointment,” Gary Robertson reported for the Associated Press. “It also prohibits state and local prosecutors, state health and medical officials and other defendants from enforcing such rules or penalizing people who don’t follow them with criminal, civil and professional penalties.”

Judge Eagles wrote that the state laws “frustrate the congressional goal of establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework under which the FDA determines conditions for safe drug distribution that do not create unnecessary burdens on the health care system or patient access.”

According to Robertson, Judge Eagles “also upheld some challenged restrictions, such as requiring an in-person consultation 72 hours in advance, an in-person examination and an ultrasound before obtaining a prescription. She said these rules had either not been expressly reviewed and rejected by the FDA, or focus more on the practice of medicine or on general patient health.”

This latest case “shows that the Obama-appointed judiciary can still be relied upon to back the FDA’s reliance on slanted abortion industry studies,” said Randall K. O’Bannon. Director of Education & Research. “The protections that Judge Eagles rejected included common-sense measures that even the FDA thought necessary before this latest cave to abortion industry pressure.  Her actions may well expose many women to unnecessary risks and dangers commonly associated with the abortion pill such as hemorrhage, infection, or incomplete abortion.”

Dr. O’Bannon concluded, “Thankfully, because of Dobbs, she allowed other general abortion regulations to remain in force, so that women will still need to meet in person with a clinician prior to an abortion, so that she can have a physical exam or an ultrasound to make sure she is not too far along or carrying an ectopic pregnancy, which these pills do not treat.”

Categories: Judicial