Source: Associated Press
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has announced that he will not defend state restrictions on dispensing abortion pills that are being challenged in court.
Stein argues that the state’s restrictions are “preempted by federal regulations protecting access to the pills”, the Associated Press reported. The North Carolina Department of Justice, under Stein’s leadership, is tasked with defending state laws in court.
The lawsuit in question was brought forward by North Carolina physician Amy Bryant who argues that state laws interfere with the ability to provide abortion pills to patients in need.
The state requires that the medication must be administered in person, following a 72-hour waiting period, counseling, and often an ultrasound. The state’s law goes far beyond what is required by the United States Food and Drug Administration, the federal agency charged with regulating the drug.
Stein argues that Bryant’s argument on federal preemption is legally correct and wrote a letter to legislative lawyers for House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger announcing his decision to not defend the state’s restrictions.
Stein said North Carolina’s “restriction of women’s use of the prescriptions they need to exercise their reproductive freedoms violates federal law and the Constitution.”
Stein is an ardent supporter of reproductive freedom and said, “As Attorney General, I will do everything in my power to protect women’s right to reproductive care, because it’s the right thing to do. And because it’s necessary to create the kind of North Carolina we all want.”
Stein has recently announced that he will run for governor of North Carolina in 2024.