AG Garland: DOJ will protect & ensure access to abortion medication

Samuel Alito wrote the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in the Dobbs case, which overturned Roe v. Wade. Alito wrote, in part, “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives… The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.” So far, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kentucky, Utah, South Dakota and Wisconsin immediately launched full-scale abortion bans. North Dakota, Wyoming, Mississippi, West Virginia, Idaho, Texas and Tennessee will pass abortion bans in a matter of days or weeks. For some states – like Virginia – it might be months before the Republican governors figure out a way to ban abortions.

All of which to say, abortions have changed since the pre-Roe days. More than half of all abortions within the US are through medication, not surgery. While abortion clinics in those states will close down, one question is: will Mifepristone be banned and how could states even try to ban the medication? Several states are already trying to ban Mifepristone and criminalize the sale across state lines. Attorney General Merrick Garland is ready to throw down on this:

On the heels of the Supreme Court decision that struck down the national right to abortion, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a statement proclaiming that the Justice Department disagrees with the verdict. In addition to vowing to “work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom,” it indicated a potential avenue for the legal fight for abortion rights.

“[W]e stand ready to work with other arms of the federal government that seek to use their lawful authorities to protect and preserve access to reproductive care,” he said. “In particular, the FDA has approved the use of the medication Mifepristone. States may not ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy.”

Mifepristone has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for more than 20 years and is authorized for use during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. It is taken in a regimen with the drug misoprostol and together the two drugs can safely induce an abortion. More than half of abortions in the U.S. are medication abortions.

Until recently, mifepristone had to be dispensed in person, but in December the FDA did away with the requirement, allowing the drug to be prescribed via telehealth and shipped by mail. While this change has expanded access to the drug, there has also been a push to reduce it. In September, for instance, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed SB4, which banned abortion-inducing drugs after seven weeks and prohibited them from being mailed in the state. At least 19 states ban the use of telemedicine visits for medication abortion despite the FDA allowance, and many still require that a doctors prescribe the medication, even though the FDA does not.

[From Time]

My guess is that in the Supreme Court’s next term, there will be a case involving the interstate sale and shipment of Mifepristone. Abortion activists are genuinely concerned that the Republican Christofascists will begin opening women’s mail under the suspicion of “receiving abortion medication.” Garland is saying that the Court can’t burn down the FDA here, and the Biden administration is going to war with various states over it. Garland will also use the might of DOJ to protect women crossing state borders to seek abortions.

Photos courtesy of Instar.

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39 Responses to “AG Garland: DOJ will protect & ensure access to abortion medication”

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  1. Wiglet Watcher says:

    People are already getting mifepristone and sending to loved ones or pro choice friends in banned states.

    You have to ship with items. You have to insure the package. You have to spray down the sides with isopropyl alcohol and you have to overnight it. Requiring a signature is a good idea too to be 100% safe. Also people are using an old dealer trick of renting air b&bs and shipping to that address with someone staying there. That way you can claim you just rented the air bnb and did not know the package was coming.

    The post office is the largest drug trafficker in the USA. Let’s use that to our advantage.

    • Mary Tosti says:

      Thank you for this information.
      As a Canadian living in the US I can’t wrap my brain around this.

  2. EllenOlenska says:

    And check out those states educational rankings and SAT scores. Those dumbasses have been waiting forever to be first in something. And yes, I’m being an intellectual snob. Pandering to the stupid got us Donald Trump. They HATE thinking.

    Keep ‘em knocked up and stupid is their motto.

    • Elizabeth says:

      The right wing rulers in those states deliberately keep people ignorant and uneducated so they will be more easily controlled.

      • Jaded says:

        The ignorance is breath-taking…

      • Agreatreckoning says:

        D@mn, if I didn’t know better, I would believe that was an SNL skit. It’s sad to know that any state that had/has a Trump rally, the same dumbf&cks will show up.
        Sadly, not astounded how many times those people had the I”M THINKING OF LIE look when confronted with evidence of the truth. Their answer to everything seems to be ‘Obama’ controlling things from his basement?.lol
        Love the hilarity at the end:
        Jordan K: A little bit of sh*t in the pool doesn’t mean you can’t swim in it.
        MAGA lady: Right!

        Those younger women that seemed to be clueless about the Jan. 6th. insurrection. I’m happy to say that I don’t know young women like that.

    • AmyB says:

      @EllenOlenska I am right there with you!! The ignorance and sheer stupidity of the MAGA cult is astounding!! And that is how Trump got them so brainwashed – their lack of intelligence, critical thinking skills, and lack of basic education. Sorry, I will be an intellectual snob too here!!

      I don’t know how I came across it last night on YouTube, but I watched a “comedy bit” by Stephen Cobert interviewing Trump fans, showing them ads by Trump and asking their opinions on them (this was before the 2020 election). Of course, anyone with two brain cells could see they weren’t real, the voice wasn’t Trump’s actual voice, he said the most awful, ridiculous things (using children for labor workers, microwaving immigrants to test if that helps for COVID). BUT THEY ALL AGREED with it! It was supposed to be a comedy bit, but the reality was truly frightening!!

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      I’m still disappointed Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 even though it was by a very small margin. Obama won in 2012 and Biden in 2020. I will defend my state’s educational ranking and SAT scores. Ranked pretty high.

      Our governor and attorney general are not happy with the ruling. This article from May includes their commentary which is being reiterated now.

      Unfortunately, the right controls the state legislature and are a$$hats.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Both of my sisters live in Wisconsin, a state that is close to my heart, and have been watching what is happening there as well!! All Cheese Heads are lovely people!! I know that you have a Democrat Governor but you guys are fighting an uphill battle!! Stay strong and keep on putting the pressure on!!

      • Julia K says:

        ThInk you from a Packer Backer. Never thought T would win here.

      • Kelly says:

        As a Wisconsin resident, I’m so glad that both Evers and Kaul have said that they will not enforce the 1849 law. DAs, sheriffs, and county executives in the largest counties, Dane and Milwaukee, where the much of the medical care is provided statewide, also have stated that they will not prosecute both medical professionals and women seeking abortions. Even before Covid made hospital staffing a crisis, many people from neighboring counties would come into Madison or Milwaukee for surgeries because their doctors had admitting privileges at hospitals in both cities and they thought their patients would receive better care. Even the very pro-birther members of my family will overlook that UW Health hospitals offered women the option of getting abortions and go there for specialized treatments because it has the best options for many areas of treatment, including cancer.

        The most recent statewide poll about the 2022 election just came out this week prior to the Supreme Court decision and it’s cautiously good in both the governor and US Senate races for Democrats. Evers is leading both of his challengers by a little over the margin of error in a poll that does skew Republican in its sampling size. Ron Johnson is losing to both of the Democratic front runners in the Senate race. The WI primary is August 9, so if you are a WI resident or have friends and family in Wisconsin, make sure you are registered and plan on voting.

      • Agreatreckoning says:

        @Kelly, I’m quite happy with Governor Evers & AG Josh Kaul’s statements on this. Kaul said he will not prosecute doctors and Evers said he will grant clemency to doctors if prosecuted. Big thanks to Minnesota’s Governor Walz who issued an executive order to further protect people traveling to Minnesota for an abortion. I really want to see Tammy Baldwin & Gwen Moore activate their powers and energize people who’ve been reluctant to vote-to vote.

        @BothSidesNow, thank you. Like anyplace/state else, we have our share of extremely terrible, horrible rotten eggs. Ed Gein & Jeffrey Dahmer come to mind along with the Republican dominated state legislature. A little bit of history regarding the cheesehead nickname.

    • BeanieBean says:

      The southern states have a long, long history of being the worst place to live if you’re a woman. And a long, long history of poor education. I lived in Georgia for six years for work, and even to the casual observer it’s easy to see the emphasis on manners over critical thinking skills. Bless their hearts. These backward steps we’ve been taking–accelerated during the trump admin–have been so hard to witness.

      • EllenOlenska says:

        And football in the Deep South, don’t forget about football. Never had a single business meeting that started on a Monday or Tuesday start without a reference to whatever college or pro game was on the day before.

    • loras says:

      Sorry, I come from a community where the Educational levels, SAT scores and income levels are high and they all, men and women, voted for Trump twice

  3. CHCB says:

    They need to get abortion drugs on college/university campus med offices ASAP.

  4. LP says:

    I can’t feel any hope about these medications because I read that they require follow up care in most cases; you can bleed out or have fetal tissue stuck inside, etc, so should always have follow up care…not to mention they aren’t effective for women weighing over 150 pounds!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Mifepristone is very safe. So please don’t be spreading paranoia about a safe FDA-approved drug.

      You always have follow up care (by phone or otherwise), and if you need a doctor just say “I think I’m having a miscarriage” and deny causing it — they cannot tell medically if you caused it or not.

    • Esc says:

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong (because I might be!) But I think the 150 lb issue is for Plan B (emergency contraception) and not misoprostol and mifepristone (medical abortion pills). Regardless, it seems a lot of states will go out of their way to make it difficult/illegal to acquire through any means.

  5. Seraphina says:

    This is our wake up call. Every single female, minority and those being discriminated against – in any way shape or form MUST VOTE at their local elections. Virginia especially. PLEASE get there and vote and get your friends and family out there to vote. WE WON’T GO BACK!

    They will not stop with women’s rights – we were warned in the 2016 election and we got here. We cannot go back. Our chidlrens’ future depends on us,

  6. aggie says:

    The Mayday organization helps women set up mail forwarding addresses and refers to abortion pill prescribers online:

    Please share and uplift the organizations set up to do this work! Support the abortion funds in your state and nationwide:

  7. pottymouth pup says:

    Dobbs (the Texas statute) includes limiting access to any “abortion inducing” medication to being dispensed by a physician in their office and makes It illegal to mail these meds to people. Abbott will sign a new bill this week to limit prescription of mifepristone & misoprostol (which is a drug approved to treat duodenal ulcer & a weak abortifacient on it’s own) to only being permitted within 7 weeks of last period. As soon as the draft decision leaked, a lot of stores/pharmacies in states w/trigger bans stopped stocking emergency contraceptives. Considering the GOP’s constant & internal mischaracterization of hormonal contraceptives & IUD as abortion inducing, I’m sure I will become even harder to get those in state well before SCOTUS guts Griswold. Physicians were already reporting pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for methotrexate from GYN/in dose regimens used to induce abortion (this is the most common prescription to terminate ectopic pregnancy)

    • Tourmaline says:

      Thank you pottymouth pup… you are so right, forced birth legislators are absolutely all over this already, and will do their worst to criminalize possession and supply of these medications. Girls and women must be punished under their world view and they are determined not to let them “get away with it.”

      It is unfortunate but true that many pharmacists/pharmacies, and doctors/clinics/hospitals, are NOT going to take their chances by putting themselves or their organizations in legal jeopardy by prescribing or supplying it.

      Already doctors in states where trigger bans have come into play have said that they will need to consult with their hospital lawyers before treating a pregnant patient with ectopic pregnancy to make sure she is sick enough under their deranged state laws to get what was until now standard medical treatment.

      It’s nice to think doctors and pharmacists will stand up and do what is right to help their pregnant patients — but the laws are written in such a way to frighten most of them away from doing so even if they know it’s the right thing. They don’t want to lose their licenses, get sued, get arrested, or become targets for foaming at the mouth unhinged right wingers. It’s a very tragic place we are in now.

  8. Goodtrouble says:

    Anyone have trusted sites (or whatever) where you can learn about all of this and how to help? I live in a protected state but want to help other women. I’ve donated to planned parenthood but is that the most effective way to fund a fight?

    • Relly says:

      Same, I’d love links on this. Especially because I live in a tri-state area where two red states border one blue, so if bans go into effect, I might be able to, I don’t know. Help drive people??

  9. teehee says:

    The constitution does not explicitly state anyone has the right to eat green spaghetti; it also doesn’t state you are allowed to be left handed and it doesn’t protect anyone’s right to like daffodils and dislike tulips.


    You have to interpret the law as it was intended / the meaning and spirit behind the words. Otherwise we will require literally millions of laws codified to cover every iota of our existence.

    • Nic919 says:

      If they truly believed in originalism then Thomas and Coney Barett don’t have a vote. But they always pick and choose the original things they like, making this entire approach horseshit.

      • Mim says:

        Originalism requires a detailed and solid grasp of history — none of the justices, and few of their 20-something law clerks, fresh out of school , possess it. I mean it’s one thing to cherry-pick historical examples. It’s another to know our history. They referred to British common law from the time of Henry III to support their arguments, for example. Yes, from the 1200s, when people didn’t live very long and almost no one could read.

        Originalism requires judges and their law clerks to earn a Ph.D. in American (and probably early modern English) history. A legal theory constructed on historical foundations doesn’t work if jurists aren’t well-versed in history. Otherwise, originalism becomes a political outcome in search of a supporting argument.

        In a day, the court’s majority moved the goal posts — 1790s for guns, 1850s or so, for abortion — in determining what historical standard should control. That should tell all of us this is policy masquerading as law.

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        Obviously the conservative justices are NOT strict constructionists or they would not have considered corporations to be “people.” That’s just a lie these evil people hide behind, to pretend they are not bought and paid for politicians like all the other evil republicans.

    • Lucy says:

      I’m in Canada, but if you need *mail* I am more than prepared and happy to send a *greeting card* to anyone who needs it. Solidarity, friends.

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        Good for you! And that is a great idea. I live in a blue state, and would be happy to have pen pals in other states.

      • Mary Tosti says:

        I posted this very thing on my fb. My house is safe and I’m a safe person. I will also take anyone “camping” if need be. I don’t need any explanation, I’m just company and a ride.

  10. Mary Tosti says:

    I had a safe, legal abortion in my 20’s. My birth control failed.
    I made a Dr. appt. to get a positive test result and called the hospital to make an appt, within a week I had the procedure. This was in Canada and I know how lucky I am that my experience was safe and supported by my doctor.
    I have a daughter and although we live in a blue state I fear for her and all other female’s reproductive rights.
    Many live saving, reproductive procedures are treated with abortion and now so many women will not have access to that.