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Ohio supporters of abortion say Texas drug ban could affect care here

Supporters and opponents of abortion access in Ohio and the rest of the nation are closely watching a flurry of legal activity which began with a Texas federal judge's ruling Friday to ban mifepristone, half of a combo used to induce medical abortions, overturning the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the drug in 2000.

Planned Parenthood of Ohio Director of Public Policy Danielle Firsich sees the ruling and the ensuing confusing about state, federal, and medical restrictions as a deliberate attempt to "sow chaos".

"A lot of patients may be more hesitant to access care, or not understand the rights they have to care. It may make physicians more hesitant to provide some types of care because they are afraid that they may be doing something illegal."

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Adarsh Krishen, says medical abortions will still be available even if the ban on mifepristone is upheld on appeal, using misoprostol, which several country's use solo for medical abortions.

"We will still be able to provide safe legal abortion to our patients who need this care, but with using a different medication regimen. It's just not as patient conveninet or patient-centric as the current regimen is, given that the current regimen gives the patient a lot of predictability as to when her pregnancy is going to end. "

Firsich says the Texas ruling - reversing 23 years of FDA approval - a slippery slope that goes beyond abortion access.

"Mifepristone is safer than Tylenol, than Viagra, than many drugs that are used all across our country, and have never been challenged by a federal judge. And this creates an incredibly dangerous precedent. Because technically, if this order is allowed to stand, any Article 3 federal judge in this country could decide that they don't think the FDA should be able to approve certain medications. And imagine what this would have looked like if a judge would have done this with a vaccine say, during a pandemic?"

Within an hour of Texas judge's ruling Friday, a federal judge in the District of Columbus ruled in favor of the attorneys general of 17 states and the district, who sued to ensure the FDA would not restrict access to mifepristone in their states, but Ohio was not party to the suit. The conflicting rulings are expected

Bakers of a proposed state constitutional amendment in Ohio to guarantee reproductive rights including abortion say the complicated federal picture highlights the necessity of the measure after the U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs decision gave abortion regulations back to the state.

A native of Chicago, naturalized citizen of Cincinnati and resident of Columbus, Alison attended Earlham College and the Ohio State University. She has equal passion for Midwest history, hockey and Slavic poetry.