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NC Doctor Sues Over State Restrictions on Abortion Pills

Source: NC Policy Watch

A North Carolina OB/GYN with a practice in Orange County is suing in federal court over the excess restrictions our state imposes on providing abortion pills, according to NC Policy Watch.

Mifepristone is the first of two medications taken to induce abortion.  Abortion with pills is approved for use in pregnancies through 10 weeks.

North Carolina’s requirements for giving patients mifepristone go far beyond what the Food and Drug Administration requires. The state requires in-person appointments with doctors and patients must take the mifepristone while doctors are present. The medication can only be provided in a specific type of medical facility after state-mandated counseling and the 72-hour waiting period, and in some cases, after an ultrasound.

FDA requirements are much more accommodating; they allow for telehealth appointments and this year even began to allow certain pharmacies to dispense the medication which in turn would let patients take the pill at home if they want to. Under FDA rules, the certified providers prescribing the medication don’t have to be doctors, and the FDA does not require any sort of waiting period.

“As a physician, my number one priority is the health and wellbeing of my patients,” Dr. Amy Bryant, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in a statement.

“We know from years of research and use that medication abortion is safe and effective – there’s no medical reason for politicians to interfere or restrict access to it, or for states to force doctors to comply with mandates not supported by medicine or science. These burdensome restrictions on medication abortion force physicians to deal with unnecessary restrictions on patient care and on the healthcare system.”

North Carolina stipulations include “restrictions that FDA has specifically rejected – that upset the carefully balanced regulatory scheme established by federal law,” the lawsuit says.

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