Continuing her efforts to ensure comprehensive reproductive health care for Michigan residents, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is seeking clarification on residents’ rights to cross the U.S. border for care or prescription medications, including abortion pills.
Current rules on importing drugs, including those that can be used for medical abortion, are complex and poorly understood by the public, Whitmer wrote in a letter to the secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. and the US Department of Homeland. Security.
She calls on Customs and Border Protection, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, and the Food and Drug Administration, part of the health and human services agency, to issue guidelines “that no legal impediments does not preclude Michiganders from seeking reproductive health care in Canada or bringing home medications prescribed by a Canadian health professional.
In most cases, it’s illegal for people to import drugs into the United States for personal use, reads the guidance on the FDA’s website. This is because drugs from other countries that are available for purchase often have not been approved by the FDA for sale and use domestically.
The FDA has approved Mifeprex, mifepristone, in a regimen with misoprostol, to terminate a pregnancy up to 70 days gestation. It was first licensed in 2000. In 2019, the agency approved a generic version.
Health Canada has also approved the use of mifepristone and misoprostol. Drugs are administered or sold there under the name Mifegymiso.
Customs and Border Protection notes that only drugs that can be legally prescribed in the United States can be imported for personal use.
U.S. residents entering the country at international land borders who are carrying validly obtained controlled substances, other than narcotics, are “subject to certain additional requirements,” the agency says in its Prohibited and Restricted Items online information.
A person who does not have a prescription issued by a licensed practitioner in the United States registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration and authorized by it to prescribe the drug cannot import “more than 50 dosage units”.
Efforts on Thursday afternoon to get specific comment on mifepristone and misoprostol from the FDA and Customs and Border Protection were not immediately successful.
Nearly 4.4 million Michigan residents live in the Detroit metropolitan area, separated from Windsor, Ontario only by the Detroit River. The Ambassador Bridge that connects them is the busiest international crossing in North America.
There are also railroad crossings in Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron and the Detroit Windsor Tunnel. The border between the state and Canada stretches over 700 miles.
“I will continue to fight like hell to protect access to abortion and other reproductive care in Michigan, and I encourage the federal government to do everything possible to ensure Michiganders can access care. in Canada if they need it,” Whitmer said in a statement. “At this perilous and precarious time for women’s human rights, we need to be creative and take bold action. We must lead.
Abortion remains legal in Michigan – for now.
A court injunction, granted in May and sought by Planned Parenthood, which sued the attorney general, maintains the status quo while the case is pending. He blocks a 1931 law banning abortion in Michigan except to save a mother’s life.
However, two Republican county prosecutors said they would enforce the ban if the opportunity arose. Attorney General Dana Nessel, a proponent of abortion rights, has made it clear she won’t, but she doesn’t believe she has the power to arrest locally elected prosecutors.
On June 24, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, removing the constitutional right to abortion and possibly giving effect to the Michigan law.
Whitmer also filed a lawsuit asking the Michigan Supreme Court to recognize a constitutional right to abortion and stop enforcement of the state law. The governor argues that the statute was passed to reinforce outdated notions of the proper role of women in society.
This week, the Republican-led Michigan Legislature asked the Michigan Court of Appeals to review the injunction, saying the judge who issued it overstepped the mark and abused his power.
Learn more about MLive:
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