Federal Abortion Pill Guidelines Confuse Georgia Pharmacists

Republican U.S. Representative from Georgia Buddy Carter, a pharmacist, called HHS’s message to his colleagues a “gross abuse of executive authority.”

“There is no constitutional right to an abortion, and as such there is no constitutional duty for pharmacists to knowingly dispense medication intended for abortion,” Carter said in a statement. “This administration has a history of using healthcare professionals as political pawns, from vaccines to abortions, and this abuse must stop.”

Coleman said the Georgia Pharmacy Association “fully agrees” with Carter’s position that bureaucrats shouldn’t dictate how pharmacists do their jobs.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June ended a nearly 50-year precedent affirming the constitutional right to abortion, leaving regulation of the procedure to each state.

Since then, cases of women of childbearing age who have prescriptions for various conditions have been denied the drug in states where abortion is no longer legal because the pills could also end a pregnancy. Three drugs – mifepristone, misoprostol and methotrexate – are often prescribed for conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome, stomach ulcers and autoimmune diseases and can also cause abortion.

First approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, “medical abortion” has increasingly become the preferred method of terminating a pregnancy for up to 10 weeks. Those seeking to terminate a pregnancy are prescribed two pills: mifepristone, taken first, then misoprostol.

The guidelines to pharmacies were sent days after President Joe Biden signed an executive order intended to protect access to abortion and contraception following the Supreme Court ruling.

In a separate letter to health care providers, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra also warned that frontline workers are obligated to stabilize patients even if it means medical or surgical abortions. He cited emergencies such as ectopic pregnancies, miscarriage complications, emerging hypertensive disorders and severe preeclampsia.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives also passed several abortion access measures, including one that would create federal protections for the right to terminate a pregnancy and another guaranteeing the right to travel for an abortion. . This week, House Democrats are due to vote on legislation that would codify into federal law the right to access birth control.

All but a handful of Republicans, including the eight-member Georgia delegation, oppose the bills passed with near-universal support from Democrats. But those proposals risk dying without action in the Senate, where the support of at least 10 of 50 Republicans is needed to avoid a filibuster.

Conservative lawmakers have also spoken out on abortion in other ways. In addition to calling on HHS to rescind its guidelines for pharmacists, Carter co-introduced a bill last week that would ban the use of federal funds to pay patients to travel for an abortion.

Another Georgia lawmaker, U.S. Representative Andrew Clyde, was among 56 Republicans who signed a letter to Biden asking him to withdraw his executive order on abortion.

Clyde and U.S. Representative Jody Hice also criticized the University of Georgia for maintaining a database of pregnancy resource centers that steer women away from abortion, saying the site map was used to target these facilities since the High Court ruling, citing a Fox News report.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, a federal appeals court is expected to rule soon on whether a restrictive 2019 abortion law goes into effect. He has been put on hold pending the Supreme Court’s decision in a case based in Mississippi that resulted in the controversial decision in June. As of Tuesday, abortions up to 22 weeks pregnant are still legal in Georgia.

Reproductive rights groups and abortion providers sued Georgia in 2019 after the Legislature passed an abortion law banning the procedure in most cases once a doctor can detect the abortion. fetal heart activity, usually about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant.

The judges asked attorneys to file additional documents in response to last month’s ruling in the Mississippi case, which was due Friday. The federal appeals court could enforce Georgia’s anti-abortion law or the three-judge panel could refer the case to U.S. District Judge Steve Jones in Atlanta with instructions to enforce it. Jones suspended Georgia’s status in 2020.

With so much uncertainty about how Georgia’s abortion law might change and how the Supreme Court’s ruling will be enforced, healthcare providers who perform abortions are struggling, the representative said. of State Renitta Shannon at the US House Oversight Committee last week.

“Providers have told me they’re concerned that even when you make an exception for the life of the pregnant person, they’ll be challenged about when it’s appropriate to make an abortion decision,” the Democrat said. Decatur. “It struck fear among the doctors.”

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