California Stocks Up On Abortion Pill Misoprostol As Judge Seeks To Block Another Drug


California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) plans to start an emergency supply of the abortion pill misoprostol for residents of the state, he announced Monday, just days after a Texas judge issued a ruling that could block nationwide access to another widely used abortion drug called mifepristone—the latest in a slew of restrictions to abortion access.

Key Facts

California can purchase up to two million pills of misoprostol, and more than 250,000 pills have already arrived in the state, Newsom said in a statement.

Newsom shared the terms of the misoprostol deal with other 20 states that belong to the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, in an effort to assist them in securing misoprostol “at low cost,” Newsom said in his announcement.

While misoprostol can be used in conjunction with mifepristone, the abortion pill blocked in the Texas case, research has shown that the two-pill approach can be substituted by a misoprostol-only option, though it’s been shown to be less effective.

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D) said Monday her state received 15,000 doses of mifepristone, in an effort to maintain access to medication abortions in her state despite last week’s ruling against the drug, the Boston Globe reported.


An increased demand for misoprostol could have wider impacts, as the drug is not only used for abortion but also as an anti-inflammatory medication to prevent ulcers in people with diabetes and other conditions.

Key Background

On Friday, Texas-based U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, issued a preliminary injunction that could effectively stay mifepristone’s 23-year-old Food and Drug Administration approval, following a lawsuit from anti-abortion rights advocates who sued the FDA last year in an attempt to revoke the agency’s approval of the drug. The decision is set to take effect this Friday, but the Department of Justice, along with a manufacturer of medication abortion drugs, asked a federal appeals court to put on hold Kacsmaryk’s ruling and keep mifepristone on the market. Friday’s decision threw millions of Americans’ access to medication abortion into question, amid a rollback of abortion access in many states following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year. While 15 states restrict access to medication abortion, the ruling could restrict access to mifepristone in states where the pill is currently unrestricted. The FDA, which first approved the drug in 2000, has appealed Kacsmaryk’s decision. The White House and many Democrats have spoken out against the decision, and have said they will fight the ruling.

Big Number

53%. That’s the percentage of all U.S. abortions in 2020 that were medication abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abrotion rights organization.

Further Reading

Trump-Appointed Judge Halts Abortion Pill Mifeprstone’s FDA Approval Nationwide (Forbes)

White House ‘Will Fight’ Texas Court Blocking Abortion Pill—DOJ Will Appeal (Forbes)

DOJ Asks Appeals Court To Keep Abortion Pill Mifepristone On The Market (Forbes)

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