NC Attorney General, Wilmington women weigh in on Texas case that could limit access to abortion pill

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A federal judge is hearing a case in which a group is trying to overturn federal approval of a leading abortion drug.

Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk heard debate this week in a lawsuit that could potentially revoke or suspend the federal government’s approval of mifepristone. It’s a drug that blocks the hormone progesterone, which helps maintain the uterus during pregnancy.

“It’s four times safer than viagra. To have a court second guess the technical expertise of the FDA is very problematic,” NC Attorney General Josh Stein.

Stein is a long-time proponent of women’s reproductive rights. Last month, Stein’s office announced the Attorney General would not defend state restrictions on dispensing abortion pills that are being challenged in a lawsuit and instead will argue the restrictions are preempted by federal regulations protecting access to the pills.

North Carolina laws require the pill must be dispensed in person after a 72-hour waiting period, the lawsuit says, and only after patients receive state-mandated counseling and in some cases an ultrasound.

Stein, who supports abortion rights and is running for governor next year, is a defendant in the lawsuit along with a district attorney and state health and medical officials. Stein and state Department of Justice attorneys are tasked with defending state laws in court.

When asked about the Texas lawsuit, Stein maintained his position of supporting women’s reproductive rights.

“The fact that there are some Republican state attorneys general trying to take that tool, that medication, away from women is wrong,” Stein said. “Women should be able to make decisions about their own bodies. It should not be politicians.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of the women who get abortions are in their 20s. WWAY went to UNCW on Thursday to speak to women in this age range. Some sided with Stein.

“If you can’t access that, what else are they going to make it that you can’t access? Women that need an abortion for medical reasons, how are they going to do that?” UNCW Sophomore Raven King said.

However, there are others happy to see conversations like this one happening on a large scale.

“I am pro-life, so I do believe that life is sacred and should be protected. So if a pill is ending the life of a baby that has been conceived, I do not support it,” UNCW Junior Heather Tripp said.

Arguments on the case in Texas wrapped on Wednesday. Judge Kacsmaryk says he will issue an order and opinion as soon as possible.

WWAY reached out to North Carolina Representative David Rouzer for comment on the case on Thursday afternoon but has not yet heard back.

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