Massachusetts’ Abortion Pills Remain Unused After a Year


Massachusetts’s reserve of the abortion pill mifepristone has remained unused for over a year since Gov. Maura Healey (D-MA) secured 15,000 doses following legal disputes concerning the Food and Drug Administration’s endorsement of the drug.

Healey initiated the creation of a mifepristone stockpile in response to a successful challenge against the FDA’s approval and subsequent deregulation of the drug by a Texas federal district court in 2023. The challenge escalated to the Supreme Court, which conducted oral arguments in March.

A representative for Healey confirmed to the Truth Voices that the $700,000 worth of medication remains intact as the Supreme Court deliberates on its accessibility.

“We will base our next steps on the Court’s decision, but regardless, mifepristone and access to reproductive healthcare will stay safeguarded in Massachusetts,” said the spokesperson for Healey.

Currently, the court is considering whether the FDA possessed the authority in 2021 to eliminate in-person dispensing requirements for mifepristone, thereby allowing healthcare providers to distribute the pill by mail.

Additionally, the court is evaluating whether sufficient scientific evidence supports the FDA’s 2016 decision to extend the gestational age limit for the drug to 10 weeks, as opposed to the original eight-week limit established when the drug was approved in 2000.

Anti-abortion proponents argue that in-person screening before dispensing mifepristone is critical for assessing the woman’s health, determining the gestational age, and ruling out conditions such as a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy.

Conversely, abortion supporters view mifepristone as crucial for abortion and miscarriage treatment, emphasizing that access to the pill by mail is particularly vital for women in rural areas without immediate access to healthcare facilities.

In April 2023, Healey prompted the University of Massachusetts Amherst to purchase 15,000 doses of mifepristone, which was expected at the time to “ensure sufficient coverage in the state for over a year.” The university was tasked with the purchase due to its required certifications for ordering the drug in bulk.

UMass Amherst confirmed to the Boston Herald that the entire mifepristone shipment was handed over to the state Department of Public Health.

The spokesperson for Healey did not provide details on how the administration plans to utilize the pills depending on the court’s ruling.

The Guttmacher Institute, an organization supporting abortion rights, reported that medication abortions involving mifepristone account for nearly two-thirds of all abortions in the United States.

Gabrielle M. Etzel
Gabrielle M. Etzel
Healthcare Reporter. Previously, Etzel served as a staff reporter at Campus Reform and as a freelance writer. After graduating from Grove City College, she earned her master's in public policy and administration from Baylor University, where she conducted research on domestic sex trafficking. In her free time, Etzel enjoys being with her family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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