Utah AG Sean Reyes joins legal brief supporting lawsuit that could outlaw medical abortion nationwide

The lawsuit seeks to overturn the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, a drug used in medical abortion

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes joined nearly two dozen other Republican attorneys general in support of a lawsuit that could outlaw medical abortion nationwide.

On Friday, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes joined 21 other Republican attorneys general in a court filing supporting a federal lawsuit in Texas that aims to outlaw medication abortion in all 50 states.

The lawsuit, brought by a group of conservative, anti-abortion medical associations and doctors, is challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s decades-old approval of mifepristone, the first of two drugs used to terminate a pregnancy.

If District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk strikes down that approval, siding with The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, it could block an estimated 40 million women from accessing abortion care even in states that protect access to abortion. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that medication abortions account for more than half of all abortions in the U.S.

In 2021 the FDA ruled patients could receive abortion pills through telehealth instead of in-person visits with a medical provider. Earlier this year, the agency broadened the availability of the medication by allowing more pharmacies to dispense the medication, including mail orders.

The brief, led by Missippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, argues those actions by the FDA violate federal law, prohibiting sending abortion-inducing materials through the mail. Additionally, the filing claims the agency is skirting state laws to regulate abortion.

“Even if the FDA’s approval of mifepristone harmonized with the agency’s own regulations and federal criminal law, those actions would not simply displace state laws regulating abortion. The amici States are entitled to enforce their duly enacted laws regulating chemical abortion in the interests of life, health, and safety,” the brief reads.

When contacted for a comment on the court filing, Reyes’ office directed The Salt Lake Tribune to a press release posted on the Attorney General’s website.

Doctors and abortion providers are reportedly encouraging patients to pre-order and stockpile abortion pills ahead of a ruling from Kacsmaryk, which is expected sometime later this month, Politico reported.